Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I – Implement Rules and Boundaries

This is where the rubber starts to meet the road.  For too long we have drawn lines in the sand.  Lines become easily erased with the passing of time as we start to let things slide.  If we are going to go through the effort of Setting Rules and Implementing Boundaries they must be something we can live with and stand firm in. 

Allison Bottke states in her book...  

Implementing rules and boundaries is a major part of acquiring the strength we’re going to need on the journey.
 Some “musts” in defining those rules and boundaries.
·       We must have a clearly defined action plan before confronting our adult children.
·       We must establish consequences and stick with them.
·       We must present a unified front if we are married.
·       We must not get involved in debate, discussion, or trying to help our adult children figure things out
·       We must encourage our adult children to figure things out for themselves
·       We must be willing to ask ourselves, “Who am I outside of this issue/child?”
·       We must be willing to shift the focus off our adult children and onto our own lives.

This process is not for the faint of heart.  It will take thought, time and understanding of what we have let happen in the past.  And we will need strength to stand firm in this; as I have stated before once you begin this process you will be met with chaos from your adult child.  They will not understand nor like these new boundaries and will fight against them.  They will pull out every weapon of manipulation they can find to use against you. 

The word Boundary implies “you can go this far and no further” like a fence or a wall.  It is put in place for the protection of those on each side of it, and to uphold something of importance.  Helping our addicted loved ones requires these boundaries to be put in place and for them to stay in place.  Their growth and our sanity will depend on it.

Doing this in our family has been absolutely paramount.  Before this our lives were filled with the constant chaos and upheaval that addiction brings.  The unwarranted guilt that I carried because my son had gotten caught up in addiction made me feel like I had to do it all; fix his problems, pay his bills, find his way for him… the truth is; by doing those things I was robbing him of the much needed work he needed to do to own his place in the addiction process and too find the reasons to fight his way out. 

I will promise you this won’t be easy, but it will eventually bring peace to your home and potentially new life to our addict.  

Thursday, October 6, 2011

NNip Excuses in the Bud

For a couple of days now I have been attempting to write on this topic, first formulating it in my mind before it ever hits the keyboard.  And amusingly enough I do believe God had me wait to write because He had some fresh material from which He would inspire me.  (Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor!)

Nipping excuses in the bud…

Meaning: Put a stop to something while it is still in its early development.
Origin: This phrase derives from the de-budding of plants

I believe we can get a pretty clear picture from these two statements just what is meant to take place when we Nip excuses.  If we ‘nip’ off the buds of a plant,  it does not flower, and if it doesn't flower, the seed inside the flower will not fall back to the ground and try to grow and bloom again.  – A could be viscous cycle is stopped.

Allison Bottke states in her book on pg 117:
When we make the decision to resign from the role of enabler in our children’s dramas, the story line, as many of us know from experience can quickly turn to melodrama. Face it, many of our children have continued so long in their present situations because they’ve been good at manipulation. It’s difficult sometimes for us to accept this ugly fact. We want so much to believe them when they tell us what turns out to be a lie or a rather overdramatized truth. – Real healing begins when a parent stops believing the excuses and lies and insists on the truth.

Yesterday began as many days do, with a quick hi and how’s your day going from my son.  By late in the day a second call came telling me he had just hung around all day, nothing major or earth shattering about his day.  – It didn’t take long before the calls started coming in one right after another; insisting he needed me to do something for him immediately.  His day’s story changed to suit his now impending emergency; in my spirit I knew this was going south fast and he would and could easily cycle out of control. 

As he began his litany of excuses, I could feel myself getting sucked into the drama, the only way I could stop that was to hang up the phone.  I know he wasn’t expecting that.  But I believe it made a statement.  I let some time pass before we spoke again, this time I had prepared myself, knew I had to stand firm and not except his excuses, half-truths and lies.  I firmly believe this is an important step for us as the loved ones of an addict.  Taking the time to STOP – collect our thoughts, our strength and if you believe in prayer, to pray; will be absolutely paramount to keeping ourselves on tract.

Later that evening when we spoke again, the conversation turned, he began to listen and the God given words that came from heart somehow stopped both of us.  Atleast I know they stopped me. (I can only speak for myself and where I am at today) I have to be responsible for my excuses.  I can easily slip right back to enabling him, and literally in the blink of an eye.

Keeping my Recovery right in front of me at all times is hard work.  Remembering the SANITY principles, and listening to that still small voice in head when it says “Nip the excuses in the Bud” or Stop the enabling, or call someone you need support right now; is what helps me do that. 

SANITY… its what we all need to get through this.

Friday, September 30, 2011

A ~ Assemble a Support Group

In order to do this we have to first get the words out of our mouth…

Help! I am the mother, father, brother, sister, husband, wife of an addict.  With that finally out in the open we can find the support, encouragement and even accountability we will need to walk the path of our Recovery.   

Allison says it best in her Book when she says: 

(pg 111) “As the first step of stopping our enabling behavior is being implemented, enjoying the support of others is crucial. Parents in pain need support; understanding, encouragement and accountability from others who have traveled this painful journey and come out on the other side – or those who are currently walking the journey with us… (pg 116) Many parents have grown accustomed to maintaining a kind of silent shame about the circumstances and issues surrounding their adult children.  Assembling a support group is the last thing we want.  Yet is one of the first things we must do to gain strength in a season of life that will most certainly require every ounce of fortitude we can muster”

I think this is one of my favorite components of the Sanity principals.   If I had stayed alone in my pain over being the mother of an addict I don’t know where I’d be today.  I am blessed to have an amazing support group, and I strongly believe that each of us needs this more than we are willing to admit. 

Mine consists of:

My husband; a man who loves me with every fiber of his being and has unselfishly love my son (his step son) even though many times he was the target of the theft that occurred due to my son’s need for more drugs.  My man has held we when I have cried, cheered me on as I got stronger and never once stopped me from seeking other support and help.

I have some very dear girl friends that though they do not have an addict in the family, they have had my back.  We would meet once a week for dinner and it was at one of these dinner times that one of them handed me Allison’s book.  These women have directed me, encouraged me, asked some hard questions; like… “How long are going to keep doing that”.  My dearest and best friend Gayle (read her blog here)has helped me dig deep inside of myself and often has encouraged me to place it all in the hands of God.  The one who knows my son and loves him even more then I do.

And along the way I have met another parent of an addict, (read his blog here)  who is a few years ahead of me on this journey.  His wisdom and forthrightness has helped push me forward, and has helped me believe in myself.  And has been a model of what this Journey can bring, with its twists, turns, valleys and joys.

I urge you, Assemble a group of people around you.  You will need them on your Journey to Recovery, put aside your fears and shame.  Stop worrying about what other people will think of you when you tell them…

 “I need help, I’m the _________ of an addict.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

S ~ Stop the Enabling

Getting hit with the reality of being an enabler was a pretty hefty blow to this mother’s heart.  Never would I have put myself willingly into that category.  Being the mother of an addict is one of the most difficult things I have endeavored.  Reading Allison’s book (and re-reading it) has literally brought me out the darkness of enabling.

I have met many parents and loved ones whose hearts have been ripped out by addiction, who also walk the path of enabling on the way to their own Recovery.  Each of us believes with all our heart that we will be the one to save our addict, to save them from drugs, from themselves and from the shunning of the family and their peers.  We believe what we are doing is keeping them safe, fed, a roof over their head.  When in fact what it is doing is feeding the addiction. If we are truthful it’s feeding both ours (our addiction to our addict) and theirs

Leslie Vernick, author of "The Emotionally Destructive Relationship" says it best:

“Fear grabs us when we think that if we say no, our adult child will make a worse mess of his or her life, and we will have to live with the pain and/or shame of those consequences.  Guilt motivates us because we often feel that somehow we failed our adult child because of something we did or didn’t do when they were younger.

I had to admit that one of the reasons I enabled was because I was afraid of what others thought about me as a parent.  I thought if I hid the fact that my son was an addict, if I helped him look like a regular adult child, I wouldn’t have to bare the shame.  It became about hiding the truth.  Somehow I believed that giving him money, a place to live, clothes etc. would help hide the fact that he was a heroin addict. 

By enabling him, I was a dance partner in the mess and chaos of his addiction.  Every time I gave him money, allowed him to live in my home while he was doing drugs, I was joining him on the dance floor.  Both of us trying to lead the other in a different direction. 

When we begin to recognize we are enabling and we find it in ourselves to STOP and start applying it to our addict’s life, know that it will get ugly for a while.  They will rebel against it; there will be chaos that will ensue. They will find themselves alone on the dance floor and will do all they can to manipulate you back out onto the floor.  But know this… our doing this, our stopping our enabling and our refusing to take part in the dance, it will force them to see they no longer have a dance partner; they will be in their addiction mess alone.    

When we STOP enabling it begins to “raise the bottom”, no longer will we have to wait for them to “hit bottom”, we can become part of what helps them get there quicker.  And that bottom will be where Recovery can begin.  

Monday, September 19, 2011


As I have now walked this road of Recovery as a parent of an addict, I have held fast to the Sanity Principles in Allison Bottke’s Book; “Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children”. 
Last winter I did a four part series on her book. (this linkwill bring you to them). And I thought it was time to go back and write about each of the Sanity Principles and what they have looked like in my life.

Over the next two weeks I will put out 6 blogs, I hope you will join me.   

Monday, August 15, 2011

Something’s Happening to Me

When my son was about 3 years old our family spent the weekend in the Poconos at a lovely resort. We were there for part business, part family fun. The condo we stayed in had a Jacuzzi Room. The kids couldn’t wait to try out that HUGE tub.

On our first night there I ran the water for them to take a “bath”. I added a bit of shampoo for bubbles and turned the jets on. My two daughters ran to change into swimsuits to bathe with their three year old brother, but my son climbed right in. Not much time had passed when I heard a small voice coming from the Jacuzzi room…

“Something’s happening to me… something’s happening to me”.

I walked into the room to find my three year old standing in the tub with bubbles up to about his ears. It was a preciously funny site. I have told and retold that story many times over the years. It always hit me what a profound statement that was for a child to utter regarding his surroundings.

Fast forward 21 years, my son, now nearly 24, and the profoundness of that statement hits me yet again as I watch him work toward his recovery. Not 70 days ago my son was actively using a mix of drugs that quite frankly should have killed him. Today, I see a young man changing before my eyes. Something is happening to him… never before in this winding, difficult journey of active addiction and clean days have I seen such a change. There is something drastically different.

This weekend we were at a family gathering, celebrating my sisters 50th birthday. She is much loved by all of my children. My son wanted to be there, I wanted him to be there. I knew there would be drinking and I warned my son of such.

He told me “mom I’m good don’t worry, I know I can’t go there”. In the past he would have laughed it off, insisted he could drink and for me to mind my own business.
This was so different… there was a steadiness about his response that I wasn’t expecting, but was thrilled with its existence.

As the party progressed, a few people there over indulged, people my son has looked up to over the years. I watched my son pull away from them and spend his time playing and swimming with the younger cousins, even starting a football game.

I took it all in, watching this man/child break away from his addictive habits of the past. In my mind’s eye I could hear again that little voice “something’s happening to me, something’s happening to me”. This time it’s not about being covered in bubbles, it’s about walking further down the road of his recovery, a few steps more than he’s ever been before.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Doors are meant as a means of access. When a door is opened, access to what lies on the other side can take place. One must open the door to access what lies on the other side of it.
This past Thursday I went through many doors as I waited to finally see my son after 60 days of separation/incarceration due to his relapse into active addiction.

As I left my house I prepared myself before I even opened the door to go. I knew there would be the possibility that he may refuse the next step. Our last conversation was good and he seemed confident in taking the step, but I had no clue what had taken place in his mind since then. I prepared my heart and my mind for the possibility, knowing I would have to stand firm in the event that would happen. Home would NOT be an option. Before I opened the door of my home to head to the court house… My resolve had to be in place.

Opening the door to get into my car meant I was heading to see him. I was choosing to move toward him, to place myself in a vulnerable situation where my heart could be broken. I have promised him that as long as he is moving toward recovery I would move toward him. I will not participate in his active addiction, but I will be there to support him in recovery.

Once at the court house I went through several doors, each moving me closer to the reality of seeing him for the first time in 60 days, each door bringing me closer to the reality of his freedom. I waited inside the courtroom, sitting on the edge of my seat for just even a glimpse of him each time they opened the sliding wall partition that separated the prisoners from the courtroom. Finally they called his name and the sliding portioned opened. There he stood, peering over the shoulder of his attorney scanning the room for my presence. Briefly our eyes connected, but his attention snapped to the judge who asked him to raise his right hand.

Even though I had been told by his attorney how this would play out, there was that moment of doubt as the judge pondered the request. My son standing with ear bent to the whole cut in the glass waiting to hear the judges words, me sitting with my ear inclined toward the judge. Would he go along with the Probation officer and attorney or would this door be closed. My greatest fear was that the judge would not grant the freedom necessary to move through the door that was waiting for my son, and the wall partition would close, leaving my son broken behind that wall. While he was in jail, the necessary doors just wouldn’t open for him to move forward in his recovery and I was half expecting the same.

As the judge finally granted his freedom, the wall partition did close, but I was directed to a new door. One in which my son would walk out a free man, free to pursue the New Door that was waiting for him. As I walked (half ran) down the four (double) flights of stairs I praised God for the New opportunity that lays waiting for my son (if he chose to walk through the door).

I sat on the bench in the hall for what seemed like an eternity, I talked to a friend on the phone to help me pass the time, constantly checking my watch. The attorney said 10 – 15 minutes, it had been 17… finally there coming down the stairs was my son, freshly shaven, trimmed hair with a wide smile. We hugged, tears welled up in my eyes. It was so good to see him, clean, free from the affects of opiates.

As we walked out of the door of the Court house I looked at my freed son and said… Are you ready for the next step…

He looked at me for a few moments and I thought for sure he was going to give me a song and dance with a new concocted plan, but he smiled and said

“can we just get coffee first”.

We drove to the nearest Coffee shop where he woofed down a breakfast sandwich and ice coffee in record time… then we went on our way to the Door that had been opened by the very hand of God.

I did not sense one moment’s hesitation in my son, each step of the process as we walked through the door, were shown around the house and as we went through the interview I sensed a relief in my son…that this door just might be the place where he can begin to put his addiction to rest.

Many doors will open and close in our lives, some doors will be more weighty then others. But in order for any door to make a difference it must be opened, so that we gain access to what lies inside and allow it to change our lives.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

An Unexpected Door

After nearly 60 days of being incarcerated; on Thursday my son will be “free”. His words tonight were “I’m scared”. He has never been fond of the unknown. Thursday he will stand on a new step, standing before a door that has literally been opened by the hand of God.

Up until Monday morning we had no clue where he would land after being in jail. We have tried so many doors to see if this would be the one or that… which one would open in time so his feet would barely hit the street. Each time we thought he had found a spot the door would close shut. Unable to be open by human hands. No matter what I did on my end, or he on his, the door just would not budge.

Neither of us knowing that what God has instore was exceedingly and abundantly more than we ever asked for or hoped for. (Eph 3:20) A door opened, and it was a door that neither of us knew existed. A small program, one that believes in mentoring, one built on the foundation of faith in God… its door opened. Not because of anything I did, or my son did. It opened because God himself opened it.

Now my son will walk through it, afraid… but committed to walk through it none the less. Yesterday when the door opened, along with it the flood gate of tears that I have held back for quiet sometime came with it. And those tears lifted praise to the heavens, for it was from those heavens an unknown door was opened…
It is with hope I wait to see what God has in store for my son on the other side of that door and what life lessons we will both gain in the wait.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tough Love/It’s a Process

There is so much about Recovery that is a Process. At no time can we the parents/loved one or our addict (or our addicts for that matter) claim “We have Arrived”. That we (or they) have come to the place of walking perfectly in our Recovery. Not on this side of Heaven will we ever find perfection.

I was reminded of this last night as the topic of conversation turned to “Tough Love”. It’s time we realized it’s named that for a reason. It’s TOUGH.
Just look at some of the synonyms for the word Tough: rough, hard, harsh, dangerous, hard-hitting, strong, sturdy.

Just looking at that list you would think that “Tough Love” has to be an oxymoron. (a phrase in which two words of contradictory meaning are used together for special effect) Tough and Love completely contradict each other. Especially in our nurturing minds (ok hearts), it’s supposed to be soft, tender, caring, giving.

The question was asked “how do I change the way I love? I don’t know how to do it all at once”.

Oh how I wish we could… it would have saved this mother of an addict thousands of dollars, numerous items, precious time and sleep. I wish there was a switch somewhere in my heart that I could just flip and ‘wha-la’ Tough Love is produced.

But the truth is, there is no switch.

There is no easy way to put it into practice. In order to Love tough, we need to stop thinking that love is just a “feeling”. It is so much more than that. Love is an action word, it requires something from us. It will mean that we will have to stop thinking about our feelings or our addict’s feelings and love in such a way that it will bring our addict to the place of seeing Recovery as the only option. That will never happen if we keep supplying all their needs and wants and paying their bills.

When they were toddlers, and were beginning to learn to walk, we walked behind them holding on to their hands.

But the day had to come when we set their back against the sofa and took a number of steps away from them and held our hands out… and waited. At first they would plop down and crawl over to you all smiles and giggles. And we’d pick them back up and place their back against the sofa again… and we’d wait.

Before long they would take that first step and then another and before you knew it they were running up and down the hall. This is one of the simplest of explanations of Tough love. Had we continued to hold their hands… walking alone may have never happened. It took our putting our feelings aside that they would fall and maybe hit their head and put their back against the sofa and wait.

Learning to walk is a process, as is Tough love. We parents who have admitted to enabling have held their hands far too long and letting them stand there with their backs against the sofa (so to speak) and begin the process of walking on their own will take our letting go of our feelings, stepping back and waiting.

Friday, July 22, 2011

When Attitude Is Everything

Since July 5th my son has been in “The Plymouth House of Correction”. He (and I) both thought it would be for a very short period of time. Like 2 or 3 days… waiting for a bed to become available in a 6 month Drug Rehab program to which he has been accepted (preliminary acceptance)

It’s now been 18 days.

For 9 days I did not hear from him at all as he waited thinking it will be any moment… (later he told me he saw no need to call as he thought for sure he would see me soon when he was released so I could transport him to Stepping Stones.) Little did he know that getting him into that program would be much like trying to get an elephant into your living room.

Not completely impossible, it would just take some maneuvering, and possibly some widening of doors.

Trying to maneuver through the “System” here in Massachusetts takes a PhD in patience and a Master’s in understanding.

I hold neither.

But I am finding myself well on the way to earning both. I have found myself speaking with Senators, Representatives, Directors, Probation Officers and ASD Duggard (I understand he’s like a Major in rank at the Plymouth House of Correction). All of which have been hugely helpful, each only being able to do their small part to push the effort forward.

Now for the record… I am NOT doing the work to get my son into a Rehab in place of his doing so. I ended up having to do this because a certain person in the list above dropped the ball he and my son got rolling and it would have left my son sitting in jail for 60 days. I was told by that person in the list above I would have to pick up the ball and run with it myself… I had to check my attitude at the door and put it in gear to get the job done… all the while my son who was sitting in jail was thinking everything was already a done deal.

Since his discovery of the difficulty that was transpiring around his getting to Stepping Stones I have been completely amazed at his positive, and unlikely happy attitude. Knowing him as I do, I was sure things would not be well once he heard about what was happening. I pretty much figured they’d be putting him in Solitary Confinement for an attitude adjustment.

But no…

Each time I hear from him; he asks what I know about the process on my side of the barbed wire fence and he tells me what’s happening on his. We laugh, we encourage each other and each time I hang up the phone and ask myself…”who was that”. Right before my very ears my son is changing (clean now 45 days). I hear something different in him, I hear hope and I hear promise, not promises, but the idea of promise… one of a future without drugs.

As a side note; he told me he read a 362 page book. You could have picked me up off the floor. That boy of mine has never read anything other than a caption under a picture in a motorcycle or car magazine (No lie). Never in my whole life would I think I would say this…

I am perfectly ok with his being in jail. Really.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Stuck Between the Crossroads and Stepping Stones


That’s how I would explain the place my son is at right now. But somehow he is perfectly fine with being stuck. A few weeks ago he was standing at a crossroads. Needing to choose which way he would go. He made a choice, and it was the choice I have been praying he would make; to go into a Long Term Recovery Program.

Since making that choice he has been met with obstacle after obstacle. The door that I believe God has opened for him, man keeps trying to close. (Which has me convinced this is what God wants!) With each difficulty that seemed to stand in his way, I thought for sure it would breakdown his resolve to move forward with his recovery. And I am thrilled to report it hasn’t. Just getting to the place where he chose Long Term Recovery has been a long and arduous road. I will continue to pray that God would give him the strength to hold onto this resolve.

The System that is in place for Recovery options and how one gets there, is frustrating to say the least and takes absolute commitment to navigate down its path. When I Sectioned my son, it was my understanding that the caseworkers within the facility would be working toward getting my son into the next step. That never took place. Here my son is ready to commit to the long haul and no one is there to get the ball rolling.

After many calls and meetings on my part (as my son was unable to get any help on the inside, his probation officer forgot to put some verbiage in his file and left him without the means to gain help) and a bed was secured for him in a program (Stepping Stones) that nearly 2 years ago I had called when first finding my son was addicted to heroin.

Back then I had no clue how this “faulty” system worked, how one gets from active addiction to real help. (this will be the subject for another post). As for now, he sits waiting in Plymouth County House of Correction in Massachusetts, a jail, where he is being held until a bed opens up. Waiting expectantly, gratefully and as he said to me last night… I’m good mom, I’m just looking forward to the next step.

Stuck between the Crossroads and Stepping Stones.

Monday, June 20, 2011

At a Crossroads

Just yesterday I watched a great Video by Kay Arthur on the “Life of David”. Her teaching was on David and Bathsheba and even if you aren’t religious you most likely know the story, Strong Handsome King David is out on his Palace Balcony in the late evening and he sees Bathsheba bathing… he calls one of his attendants to find out who she is, the attendant comes back telling King David “she is the wife of Uriah the Hittite (one of David’s long time loyal men). David chooses to have her brought to him… and the rest is history.

There were a lot of good “Life Lessons” in this video. At several points in the story David was at a crossroads… he had a choice to make. And each time he chose poorly, from adultery to deception to murder in the blink of an eye and in the end because of those choices there was a price to pay.

I share this with you not to give you a bible lesson but to point to the truth of ‘Crossroads’. Our addicts come to them all the time. Choices… Crossroads… For some the choice began the first time they partied and the momentary choice of what they thought was “a bit of fun” turned into a life of addiction. For others there was no choice at all, they followed their Doctors advice and filled the prescription for pain.

No matter what got them to where they are now, at some point they will come to a Crossroads.( A place where a choice is to be made.) When they get there will they be able to make a good choice? Whether they do or not it is their crossroad to come to. As parents we try to get them there quicker by raising their bottom; removing them from our homes, cutting off any financial support ect. We put them right there in the face of a crossroads.

My son has asked me if I think it’s a good idea for him to head to Florida and start a new life, in a trade he loves. To leave with a friend who is 5 ½ years clean and sober. Leaving behind all the triggers that are here, old girlfriends, old friends, a town that every time he goes there it’s bad news. HE is standing at a crossroads…

My advice was simple; I told him what I thought was best, but in the end it is his choice. It is he that stands there at this crossroad trying to determine which way he will go.

I said

I will not tell you what to do here, you and only you can own your Recovery. If you go and you succeed, the sweet victory will be yours to hold onto. If you go and fail, it will be you that has to pick up the pieces and try again.

But know that with every choice there is a price to pay. Hard work for the victory or Hard work after a Relapse.

Crossroads; we all stand at them, our addicts will face them everyday… Will I use today Or will I walk hard in my Recovery?

Friday, June 17, 2011

If I Can’t Fix my addict…

Each of us comes to the place when we realize we can do nothing to fix our addicted loved one. There is no amount of love that we can pour over them or into them that will magically take away the addiction. If there was our loved ones would all be healed from this maddening disease in very short order.

I know I certainly tried and lost precious time, sleep, joy, peace, and belongings. Never mind emptying myself of energy and love. Once the light dawned on my ‘marble –head’ I was able to see why I was so full of despair all the time. When you are giving all you got to another human being who does not have the capability to receive it, because addiction renders them unable to, it will exhaust you, depress you, and has the potential to drain you mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

It’s bad enough that my addicted love one is bankrupt in each of those areas… I cannot allow myself to be as well.

So that’s the big question here… I’m a parent, a mother; I’m a nurturer by heart.

How do I let go of my NEED to fix?

One of the first things I did was to recognize that my God loves my son more than I do. And I literally “lifted my son up to Him”.

Imagine if you will the moment in the movie “The Lion King”, when Rafiki raised Simba to the sky…

well that’s what I basically had to do with my son. I prayerfully every morning do that. Knowing that God has a plan for my son keeps me sane, and fills me with peace.

The peace is awesome, but what about the energy, the drive I am still filled with to do something about this…

I use that energy to write, to fight and to bring Awareness to my Community about what this disease is doing to our loved ones. By fighting I mean doing what I can to help keep funding for treatment centers, emailing my Senators and Representatives making them aware at all times what this epidemic is doing to the people they represent. In order for them to Vote wisely we need to let them know. Being willing to be a voice in our Communities, having the courage to step out in the light and say:

“Hi my name is Susan and I am the mother of an addict” .

I am willing to be a face and a voice to help remove the stigma, bring awareness, and most importantly to share a way to peace out of the pain and shame. I can’t fix my son, but I just might be able to fix something about addiction.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How am I doing?

I have been asked that question alot lately...

As the parent of an Addict, I too must submit to the need of Recovery in my own life. I cannot get through this alone. Nor can I continue to do things as I have always done them. In my 4 part post on Freedom in Saying No I dealt with a lot of my own enabling. What my part in all of this was and could be again if I’m not careful.

I can certainly look back and see just how far I’ve come. I know that for me a line in concrete has been drawn when it comes to understanding that I CAN NOT fix my son.

That one is firmly instilled in my heart.

Yet it hasn’t removed the desire to do so. I believe as a mom that will be something I will have to keep right in front of me at all times, always keeping that in check. Just like my son I too can relapse. I can go back to relying on feelings instead of fact and loose an immense amount of ground that I have gained.

Yesterday as I was speaking to him, he was telling me his plans for the near future. At this moment he is in a locked down facility for up to 30 days after nearly taking his life. He sang a good song telling me how he just wanted to leave the life of addiction behind him, that when he gets out of there on July 5th he just wants to get an apartment and get a job and move on. ~

Last year had I heard those words I would have been so elated ~ but the truth is he has yet to stay clean for more than 3 months, never mind walking out of every program he’s gotten into or being kicked out. And when life through him a curve ball 3 weeks ago his answer was to nearly kill himself with a very bad mix of drugs. If I was not where I am today in my Recovery I very well may have fallen for his song. And even helped to find him what he wanted.

Instead I told him I cannot support that. That until he had a good year or better of being clean I cannot believe that he can make it on his own. His past inability to deal with life and its hardship without falling headlong into drug use certainly spoke loudly to that. That I support his getting into a long term program and nothing more, when he protested I said when you’re ready for that call me and I hung up.

So… how am I doing?

Today I am walking firmly in my Recovery, taking purposeful steps to stay that way and doing my best to stay one… maybe even two steps ahead of my addict. Today is a good day!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Somehow there’s Peace

After a three week run of using drugs hard, watching my son slip further and further away I seized an opportunity to raise his bottom and force his hand into recovery. Day after day last week I asked him;

“Are you ready to go to the Hospital? I’ll take you

Each request was met with a “no mom I’m fine, I’ll call a Detox tomorrow

Tomorrow wasn’t coming… and if he continued down the path he was on, I’m afraid I’d be writing on a whole different topic today.

Over the weekend my son was arrested for B&E in an abandoned house, looking for a place to crash out with a few of his addict buddies. So Monday morning he needed to head to court to answer for those charges. After numerous calls to me that he just “had to have $50” I told him, ok come down to my office. I had no intention of giving him the money, but if he thought I was going to give it to him I knew he would show up.

He was a bit upset when I told him no money, but I would get him a bite to eat on our way to the court.

Unbeknown to him I had already called the Court house to ask if they did Section 35’s, they did and I was going to

He seemed pleased at first that I was going into Court with him, as he turned to head toward Probation he asked if I was coming in with him.

I said “No, I’m heading for the Clerk’s Office”

He seemed a bit puzzled and asked me “why

I kept walking and said “I’m going to Section you today

I took my seat in the Court room after filling out all the paper work; it wasn’t long before he joined me. Continually whispering to me “mom, really you don’t need to do this, you just need to bail me out today and I promise I’ll go to Detox” he persisted with this and I told him to hush because I wasn’t changing my mind.

I was focused; I could feel strength in the very marrow of my bones that would not let me vacillate to the left or to the right. I could hear the whisper of God in my heart telling me “hold tight to My hand, you are doing the right thing, we’re saving his life”…

I will spare you all the unfolding details, but know that as I stood before that judge and pleaded for my sons life tears ran down my face and the brevity of his addiction spilled from my heart.

The Section 35 was granted,

and a chance at Recovery can take place. As I left that court room I felt a surge of power running through me, a huge weight had been lifted from my soul and I knew I had done the right thing.

Isaiah 41: 10 Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

He’s Someone’s Son

There are times when the words that come out of your mouth come back to bite you.

And they did.

For months I have been actively working toward Awareness, that addiction can hit any family, at any time, and any child can be caught in this mess. When it’s your son, your daughter you want people to have compassion, to extend grace, to find understanding. Over and over in your heart you hear yourself saying

“if you only understood addiction… if you just knew him before all this hit… you’d know the sweet boy I knew, the one whose laugh lit up your world, the one who loved playing baseball and riding quads, the one who cried when he saw a homeless man on the street… that’s my addict, that’s my son”.

The pain a mother carries in her heart when her son or daughter is rejected and looked upon as a looser because of addiction is at times unbearable and I know it well.

Just two days ago I saw my son with a long time friend, one who he has used with on countless occasions. A young man I know well, and loved like a son. He has supplied my son on several occasions with drugs. As the two walked toward me, he knew to separate from my son and walked away as I spoke to him. As we parted I said

“I can’t believe you’re with that looser”.

By the time I got in the car my stomach was turning… not because he was with him, but because of what just came out of my mouth… he is someone’s son, just like my son is.

His mother is in just as much pain over the road her son has chosen as I am. Tears streamed down my face as I was confronted with my two-faced heart. Oh how I prayed that I would have the opportunity to make amends.

This morning I received a text from that young man… he was seeking to make amends for the hurt he had caused our family.

The tears flowed…

I immediately called him and I was able to tell him I forgive him and ask his forgiveness for my callous words.

He said “Susan I forgive you, and I completely understand, if I had a son I wouldn’t want him with me either”.

He went on to tell me of where he was in his recovery, and I was able to offer words of encouragement and understanding. Oh how I pray they replaced the callous ones.

I must always remember… he’s someone’s son…

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

When the Truth is a Lie

I have a very dear friend who has often reminded me “if his lips are moving he’s lying”. Keeping that phrase in the forefront of my mind got me through some of the most difficult moments of my son’s addiction while he lived with us. It was those lies, coupled with the stealing and of course the drug use that forced me to tell him he could no longer live in our home.

This August 2nd it will be a year that he moved out. I immediately transformed his room into my office. No bed for him to come back to. It made it more final for me. Removing the bed and dresser made it so I could not have a weak moment and say “ok… you can come back” The fresh paint and office furniture took it right off the radar from ever happening.

But… it didn’t prevent him from visiting or calling.

While he lived with us I KNEW what was happening. There was no hiding it. His lies were easily exposed because the truth was just right out there in front of me. But when he’s not right there in front of me everyday living out his addiction or his recovery… lies can very easily become his truth. A truth that he sells me, a truth that seemed convincing.

Numbers 32:23 the second half of that verse says …“be sure your sins will find you out”. Isn’t it funny how true that statement can be. None of us can live a lie for too long before the truth is exposed. And that was true for my son.
One after another the ‘truths” he’s been selling have been exposed as lies, as manipulations. When I confronted him he said he did it all to “make me happy”. He wanted me to think he was something or somewhere he wasn’t.

I must admit I liked thinking he was doing well, I liked telling people he was doing well. But the fall from that false place to the real place he is at hurt way too much. As much as I didn’t like the roller-coaster of his living with us “truth” was always more evident… and I can live in truth, I can feel safe with truth even if the truth is harsh.

The office furniture will stay… but I need to find a way to paint my heart before I can deal with the calls and visits.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Foundation Stones – Recovery and Relapse

Both Recovery and Relapse places a stone in the foundation our addicts are building. These stones are the tools they gather along the way. Some of the tools our addicts will be given are the “12 Steps”.

A number of years ago I did a 12 Step based program called “Making Peace with your Past”. It was hard work. It included a lot of self discovery and working through some tough memories and emotions. It took me a good 6 months to complete working through it week after week with a counselor, and then a number of months after for me to really start implementing the steps.

I know just how hard it was for me getting through those 12 steps as well as the work it entailed and I was not an addict. Adding that (addiction) to the mix can only add more time, anxiety and work. For some of our addicts there has been something in their lives that they desire to cover over. Some emotional pain, some difficult trauma they prefer to forget, that sets them on the path to addiction. If they had the coping skills (tools), trusted someone with the pain who could have afforded them the guidance (stones) to overcome they may have never ventured down the path that is so hard to come back from. I know this was true for my son (and for my sister).

Learning these skills, acquiring the tools, placing the stones in the foundation is hard work.

The work recovery takes can be daunting, painful and humbling… And there will be times that something will come along and crash down a stone or two, or ten. A tool they have learned will get misplaced.

And relapse will happen.

A new skill can be learned from the relapse, so don’t discount the time of relapse as not being a part of the recovery. It takes great strength to come back from a relapse, and that strength was gained during the previous run of recovery. I have heard so many stories of addicts that the relapse to recovery time gets shorter. (My son included) Those tools and stones that have been placed in the foundation are still there, and it will be those remaining stones that hold them up and get them to the next run of Recovery.

When the foundation is complete and cured (a concrete term), then a life free of addiction can be built on it. Nicks and cracks will come, but the tools they have acquired along the way will become the mortar that fills them in.
Rushing the process will only produce a faulty foundation, similar to the biblical story of the foolish man who built his house on the sand… It takes wisdom to build a house on a rock, and that is what the work of Recovery is for.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Holding on to NO

I must admit that over the past 10 months saying NO has gotten easier. Each time I have said it and held to it I feel more empowered. It makes it easier when the next time comes around. I have chosen to NOT enable my son any longer while actively using drugs.

No money
No living at home
No rides, other than to treatment.

I have to stand firm on this.

Now 84 days clean saying NO gets a bit more difficult. He’s not actively using and I want to do whatever I can that will truly support his Recovery.

The calls come in…

Can you help me with this…

I just need help this one time…

I have nowhere to go until tomorrow when I can get into …

Weighing each request before I answer can be tiring and frustrating, but weigh them I must. Staying one or two steps ahead of my son is very important, his recovery and his life can depend on my staying the course.

We have paid for a few things here and there, never by handing him cash, when he needed a dress shirt, pants and shoes for a job interview per the request of the Halfway House (and yes I made sure it came from them) I bought the clothes and sent them. We have allowed him to sleep on the sofa a few times when he has been in transition between places, never more than 12 hours. I always made sure he had a placement the next morning. To which I would drive him...

Saturday night I received a text from him that said

I really don’t want to be here, I really wish I could come home but I know that’s not an option. I want to go back to the Sober House and be close to home. I don’t want to do drugs anymore. I can’t and I won’t. I want to move on with my life, get a job. Would you help me with the first two weeks rent at the Sober House?"

Has that positive slant doesn’t it?

He was in at New Hope in Weymouth waiting for a placement at a Halfway House. Once again he wanted to skip over the next step… each time he has done that he has failed. This time though he has 84 days of being Sober behind him.

Can he make it? Will he fail?

I chose the difficult road in my response telling him to

"Hang in there, get to a Halfway House, find a job, then move on to a Sober House. Do it the right way. Take your time; get as many clean days between you and the past as you can before you try to move on with your life.”

I thought; maybe I got through to him.

But truth be told I was expecting him to run the next day.

And he did.

I’m holding on to the NO’s, and will carefully use my Yeses for the purpose of his Recovery

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Recovery means: Never Put All your Eggs in One basket

Being an active observer in my son’s recovery from addiction, I have been prone to disappointment and upset. It’s part of the recovery process, moving forward three steps, and falling back one. Working the program, and walking out of them; sometimes because you’ve been asked to leave and sometimes because they chose to.

Each time he has gotten into another recovery house I’ve been on the edge of my seat, expectantly waiting for the miracle of the transformed life. Hoping that this will be the place that makes the difference. I’ve now lost count of how many times he has been in Rehabs and Recovery Houses. November 2008 seems like a lifetime ago, sending him off to that first Detox, thinking at that time; in a few months this addiction thing will be a thing of the past and he’ll move on to a successful life.

Each failure hitting me hard; each time he would relapse I’d find myself trying to dig myself out of a pit of despair. Asking myself… Why? Why didn’t this work, why didn’t he take the next step? Why? Somewhere along the way I have come to a place of peace in this storm. I’ve stopped putting all my eggs in one basket,

meaning that I’ve stopped believing that “this is the place; this will be the one program that makes all the difference”. And I am so thankful I have.

Last week my son entered Teen Challenge on Thursday, and he walked out on Monday. Barely 4 days. Teen Challenge is a great program, and I know a number of people whose lives have been radically changed because of it. Upon his entering had my mind set been

“This is the place!!!! This is where it will happen”

I would have been crushed yesterday. Instead I was filled with a peace that truly passes all understanding (mine included). My son’s recovery is not confined to any one set of four walls. I am a firm believer that for true recovery to happen my son will need to submit his life completely to God. And God is big enough that He is never confined to a set of walls.

When my son is ready, when he truly wants to put this life behind him and has hit a bottom that hurts more than the pain recovery will take, he will encounter a God who has been waiting for him and Recovery will happen now matter what Recovery house he is in.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Shoe Has Fallen

He called me in tears, “where do I go… what do I do. I have nowhere to go”

After nearly 60 days of recovery my son had to leave the Halfway House he is in due to breaking the rules by using a prescription medication not allowed by the house. He was in such a state of panic, I had to convince him to get on the train and just start heading as far south as his train pass would take him.

Once on the train he was able to calm down and make some calls. He thought he had secured a bed back at Starr that would be available in two days. He then made the connection with a friend to stay for a few days. As the days went by, one bed after another came and went. It would seem the doors are closing all around him, each with a resounding thud, each one escalating his feelings of fear and abandonment. He is homeless and running out of options and help.

With desperate pleas he text me on Easter Eve to come home, I couldn’t let him, as much as my mother’s heart wanted to take her lost boy in, I couldn’t. I had to be another door that would close on him. His sister picked him up after her shift at the hospital giving him a nights reprieve, a shower and some family time. He came for Easter dinner but he was tentative, afraid of being rejected by all of us.

By the evenings close he was sobbing. Not knowing where he would go.

I had all I could do to remain detached, to see this as his journey; a desperate one, but his none the less. A choice had to be made, would he agree to go to Teen Challenge or would he continue to remain homeless, and struggling to remain clean. He made the call… once he was willing a door opened for a night or two’s lodging. It wouldn’t be the perfect scenario, it would still be uncomfortable and awkward, and anything more and he may not take the much needed step in front of him.

Trying to stay detached and at arm’s length is one of the most difficult things I have ever done. My heart is crying out to run in, take him back home; protect him… but I cannot, and will not disrupt what God is doing. It will be his pain and his fear of more pain that will drive him to real Recovery and I will not stand in the way.

The Shoe has fallen,

and its sound is deafening in my heart, but I will stand fast in the strength that God is making available to me, and hold on to HOPE.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


According to the online dictionary the definition of milestone is; An important event, a turning point.

I’m particularly partial to “a turning point”. A Milestone marking a place in one’s life where they have turned; turned away from a behavior, turned away from despair, turned away from addiction. Turning to something better.

Today is a Milestone in my son’s life. Today he celebrates 50 days of sobriety. 50 days after he turned away from heroin and opiate abuse. 50 days after he turned away from a life of despair, 50 days after turning away from a life where his behavior was ruled by a drug addiction.

It’s also a Milestone in my life, For 50 days I have not enabled, for 50 days I have prayed without ceasing, for 50 days I’ve let go of the control and have allowed my son to work out his own recovery. For 50 days I have been thankful that he is safe, clean, and in good company, and for 50 days I have rested in the arms of Jesus knowing that He will continue the work He has started in my son.

After 50 days it’s beginning to be a joy when I hear my son’s voice; clear, strong and focused on the future. With each passing day, another 24 hour period of distance is added between him and the life of drug abuse. As that distance grows, he will have more milestones to celebrate; 100 days clean, 1 year clean; getting a job, working through broken relationships, offering restitution. Many Milestones, many places to stop and celebrate, to place a mark and say; I will continue to move forward!

Today I celebrate 50 days of victory over addiction with my son.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Shoe or Hope

“Waiting for the other Shoe to fall” is an old saying. Its meaning: to wait for the inevitable next step or the final conclusion. That’s where I sit right now, waiting for the other shoe to fall.

My son, has been in recovery now for 30 days and doing well in a Halfway House.

But I wait…

For the phone to ring and hear him tell me;

he’s been kicked out,


he failed his drug test


he just can’t stand it anymore.

I’ve heard all three of these in the past. Each attempt at recovery as of late has ended in failure of one sort or another. And with each of those my hope seems to fade further in the past, out of reach. I’ve become afraid of hope and afraid to hope. It almost seems safer to settle in to the acceptance of his being an addict, for its there that I’ve learned how to detach from the emotion of my love for him. It’s there that I’ve stopped the enabling, and it’s there that I gained a peace in my home that has lulled me to a place of contentment.

Gaining these things has been huge, and yet here I hang between the shoe and hope. In order to grasp a hold of Hope I need to accept that the shoe may fall. And if/when it does I don’t have to live in the despair of his failure. That’s where I’m stuck right now, thinking that hope is futile and that his failure is inevitable. I’m afraid to grasp a hold of Hope, the last time I did I fell so hard when he did. My despair was dark and deep and it took all I had to take hold of the Hand of the Almighty and let Him pull me from that pit.

Yet I want to rejoice in his recovery, 30 days is such an accomplishment from where he has been. So how can I let go of the worry of the shoe falling and remain hopeful?

Oh God help me hold onto the Hope I can have in you. Hope in another person is what is futile, but the Hope that I find in You will and can be what will never fail. Placing my hope in the One who holds the future, who holds my son’s future, who even knows when the shoe will fall, that is the Hope that will not let me go.

So let the Shoe fall where it may…

Romans 15:13 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Loving with Closed Hands.

How does a mother stop loving her son or daughter?

Is it even possible?

Do we have to stop loving them just because they have become an addict?

My heart tells me no. We can’t and we won’t.

There are times that the line between love and hate is so thin you would think you’ve come to the place of no longer loving them. But we might as well resign ourselves to the fact that we will always love them.

Loving our addicts must take on a new dimension. We cannot get caught up in the Emotion of the Love. A dear friend of mine often says “Emotions do not have brains”. Changing how we love, that desire that comes out of our hearts to fix our wounded children, needs to change. We CANNOT fix them. No matter how deeply we love them. No matter how much love we pour out on them. It will be wasted.

We will become exhausted, overwrought and empty. We will be spinning our wheels and digging a hole for ourselves. Addiction prevents them from responding to the love we are trying to pour out. We can’t expect them to act and respond like our healthy children do. So we need to love them differently, we need to love them with closed hands.

Hands that hold onto our money and no longer give it to an addict that uses it to continue their habit

Hands that hold tight to hope all the while staying in the reality of the moment. Opening those hands too soon can actually rob our addict of the Hope that is before them.

Hands that stay active in our home, loving the children that are healthy, loving our spouses who are hurting through this. Fill those hands with loving the ones who have the ability to respond.

Hands that pray… praying for our addict, praying that they will come to the very end of themselves, that they hit the bottom and have nowhere else to look but up. That they will hear God calling them out of the darkness and they will cry out to Him for strength and help.

Hands that reach out to others in the same place you are. Keeping our hands full helping to comfort another parent is good medicine for our hearts that long to fix our addicts. We can’t fix them, but we just might be able to give hope to another hurting parent.

Loving with Closed hands is foreign to us. Our making our emotional love unavailable to them for a time will be the best gift we can give them and it can very well be what brings our addicts to the place where they will be forced into recovery.

Be willing to Love with Closed Hands.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

From Mourning to Morning

There is a time for everything and a season for everything under heaven…
A time to weep and a time to laugh
A time to mourn and a time to dance. (Ecclesiastes 3)

Life’s journeys can bring us both weeping and mourning as well as Laughing and dancing. And sometimes the same circumstance can bring one to a place of dancing and the other to a place of mourning. The action comes out of the where the heart is in the journey.

This road I have been down with my son has brought me both. I was reminded of my time of deep mourning just this past Monday. I went to my first parent support group and found there those who were hurting deeply, they were in their time of mourning. My heart broke particularly for this one woman whose healthy son could not understand her need to mourn. We parents must mourn. The loss we feel during this difficult season calls us to do so.

They are our sons, our daughters, the very children we carried in our swollen bellies, we birthed, we rocked, we bandaged their boo-boo’s. These are the children we have prayed over, dreamed for, and loved. All those dreams of who and what they would become, the aspirations we have had for the lives they would one day live. Gone. Or at the very least put off to a distant time. A time we can't quite see or sure exists.
Addiction has stolen our dreams for our children, its stolen their dreams for their own lives.

My son is gifted and talented in so many areas. When clean I have watched him excel in two different trades, I have heard his bosses sing his praises.

Addiction has robbed him of that.

So I have mourned that loss.

Addiction has stolen his dignity and relationships with his peers.

So I have mourned that loss.

Addiction has stolen days, weeks, and now years of his life.

So I have mourned that loss.

As a mother who has watched her son become an addict, I have mourned the loss of who he was, the little blonde haired blue eyed boy whose smile brought joy to my heart. The small child whose heart cried over seeing a homeless man in the park, his compassion for others is swallowed up in his need to get drugs. So much potential for life and goodness seemingly gone…

And so it’s our season to mourn.

But the pendulum will swing in the other direction, and as they get clean and stay clean we will laugh once again and we will dance, and we can be there to hold up those who mourn.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Will He?

The long and bumpy road that has been my son’s addiction could today start to straighten out. Each time he’s gotten to this place, he’s looked for a different door with the name EASY on it. Rehab after Rehab he’s gone the Sober Living route, not that sober living can’t work, it’s just not meant to work for one coming right out of a Rehab. It’s meant for those coming out of a long term program, long meaning MANY months of sober living. His experiences in Sober Houses have always ended badly, the last one only lasting 5 days.

Just two weeks ago he walked out of High Point after being there nearly three weeks, and just days away from an interview with a Halfway House. It didn’t take him long to realize he had made a grave mistake.

We stood firm in our boundaries, and would not cave.

For three days he made call after call to get back into a program and after securing a bed the System failed him and he lost the bed. The Hospitals are cracking down on keeping them overnight while they wait for a bed and he made call after call to me that they were going to discharge him and he had nowhere to go. He was scared.

All the times he had gone to the hospital in the past, waiting two or three days in the ER for a bed to be found, being fed, kept warm, TV at his finger tips… not this time. Just before being discharged a bed was finally found. This time at a Rehab he was not familiar with. But at that moment in time he was just glad to have a place. There was no transport available to take him, so after carefully weighing “Is this Helping or is this Enabling” I went to the Hospital, picked him up and drove the unfamiliar route to SSTAR.

Just two days ago he called with the litany of excuses;

I hate this place, this isn’t like High Point. There’s a nurse here that’s disrespecting me

Well all you have to do is your part and that’s to be engaged in your recovery

I had the overwhelming feeling that he would run from here too. But I stayed persistent in staying the course. If he had, he would also had run out of options. And I think he finally knew it.

Today the running could end. Today he is to do an interview with Hamilton Recovery House, a long term Halfway House far enough away from the homestead to hopefully make a change.

Waiting to hear…

Will he?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Do Not Run Ahead

One of my biggest faults is running ahead of God. There are more times than I care to tick off that I have made a mad dash to get out ahead of Him.

Just recently in one of those ah-ha moments I came to realize just why I do that. Understanding how our family of origin operates can unlock many secrets to our behavior and this was one of them.

Knowing you have the problem of running ahead of God and not running ahead of God are two different things. But I can assure you He is working on that in me. Just minutes after my last post of Freedom in Saying No – Part 4 my cell phone rang. It was my son telling me he had been kicked out of a Rehab and I needed to come get him right now.

A still small voice was telling me…

This is a test…

Would I pass or would I fail, would I cave already?

Is this helping or am I about to enable again?

I took a deep breath and decided this would be enabling and I needed to let him go, to let him struggle this one out. I couldn’t say for sure what God was doing, but I knew He was and there would be no running ahead of him this time.

I said No as firmly as I could.

God in His infinite wisdom provided a Christian woman who sort of knew my son to offer him a ride and on that ride he heard about his need to repent, to turn from sin and that more than anything he needed Jesus. Now he’s heard that from me over and over, but this would be from a new voice, a voice that God had ordained for just this moment.

Just a few days later my son would try to get back into a Rehab… For the first time all the helps that had been out there, the doors would be closed. No over nights at the hospital until a bed was ready. In absolute fear of being homeless he called me begging me to come pick him up.

Once again I heard the still small voice in my head …

This is a test…

No more enabling for me, no more running ahead of what God has in mind. I reminded myself that God is good, He is always good.

Because I said No... and he had run out of all other options he went through his phone list and found the number of one of the Elders from our church and asked for help. Right now he is the car of with him, again hearing a new voice, a God ordained voice. A voice I am sure God planned to use long before today.

Today not only did I refuse to enable, I refuse to run ahead of God.

Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Freedom in Saying No (Part 4)

The road to freedom of any kind is paved with a lot of battles, bumps, potholes, and roadblocks.

The journey I have been on has been no different. My friend’s insistence to read the book, and then the book itself only set me on the road. It has taken determination, falling, failure and utter resolve to keep moving down this road of Freedom.

Just like Allison’s ah-ha moment that I described in my last post, I’ve had a few that have pushed me further down the road. The first was last August, when I came home after being out of town for 4 days at a conference and my husband’s schedule had been pretty busy as well, leaving our son home a lot (which should be fine considering he’s 23) to find that all hell had broken loose in our home.

My son had overdosed and was found unresponsive, he was rushed to the hospital, given a medication that counter acts the drug he had taken and within 5 hours walked out of there refusing any other help… add to that finding out that he had lied about his girlfriend expecting a baby just to gain our sympathy and financial support. The heart sickness I felt was overwhelming, and the light finally dawning on Marble-head (mine) that he had NO desire to change or get well was enlightening. The only person seeming to fight for him to be well was me…I wanted him to change, I wanted him to be well…

This would be my first “AH-HA moment” that began the process of saying NO.

“NO you cannot live here; you have refused to go to a rehab after nearly dying.”

“NO you cannot stay here; you lied to us for the last three months so we would support the two of you.


The chaos that ensued after that brought a call to the police to have him removed. Remember I said when you start this process, it will get ugly. You must be prepared for that.

The next few months brought a peace to our home, a peace that I had not known for nearly 6 years. I had no clue how to live in it. My new found freedom was unfamiliar territory. During that time I would cave here and there in helping him (if I am to be truthful it was more enabling, he just wasn’t in our home)

It would be Thanksgiving before he ever walked back through our doors. ~ And nothing says battles, bumps, potholes and roadblocks like the emotions of the holidays and the frigid weather they bring. This would be where the rubber would meet the road in putting all that Allison’s book had to say to work. I’m not telling you to cut your child out emotionally, but I am telling you, you will have to NOT act because of those emotions.

I did…

again I would have to say… "My name is Susan and I’m an enabler."

In my post Peace in the Silence, I shared the utter despair of our family as my son walked out with $2500 worth of electronics; a good portion of these were Christmas gifts, this last episode would push me to new place, recognizing the depth of his addiction and illness, seeing my part in all of this, my undying hope that one day he will emerge a healed, whole young man due in part to my gallant efforts to give him another opportunity to succeed.


I cannot fix him, no matter how much love I pour on him,or how many times I help him…

The word STOP screamed in my heart.

I had to break free of this once and for all.

Finally saying NO, drawing a line in the concrete (no longer in the sand) will be the only way I can be of any true help. And if I truly want to see him healed and whole, it WILL never be about what I do. It will be about what God will do. Yielding everything to God (Y), giving my son up to Him, and NOT taking him back to fix, trusting that God has the plan all in place, I just need to get out of the way and let it happen. This one letter of the Acronym will be the most important one to implement, once you do...

The FREEDOM will come…

The road has smoothed out,

the battles, bumps, potholes and roadblocks are no longer visible. They’re not visible because they are not mine to endure. They are his…

If I can give you anything to hold onto, anything to take away from all of this… it’s this;
The Road to Freedom begins by saying NO! And each time you say NO, mean it, stick with it, If you cave, start all over again and eventually you won’t go back. The road will smooth out and the Freedom will be incredible.
My friend; there is Freedom in Saying No.