I am not an addiction expert, specialist, nor a psychologist. I am simply a parent…a mother of an addict in recovery. I have no profound words like Oprah, but I do have a story to share, not about my son’s journey, but mine.
In the beginning, I was so naïve. I deluded myself into thinking that once my son was in recovery, everything would be hunky-dory. Silly me. He was in recovery, then out of recovery. Sober one minute, using the next. Not knowing how to handle this emotional rollercoaster, I just hung on…until I could no longer do so. I was driving myself crazy. I was miserable, fearful, constantly worrying. I was sick, emotionally and spiritually. I crawled into the doors of an Al-Anon meeting seeking answers and solace. I thought they would show me how to get my son clean. Again…silly me! I quickly discovered that the only person I could control was me. This was a program for me! By working the Steps with my Sponsor, I reconnected with my Higher Power that lights my path and in whom I place my faith. I have learned to trust that my son has his own Higher Power who loves and cares for him. I am his mom, not his Higher Power. As my attitudes and behaviors changed, I noticed a shift in my relationship with my son. As I healed, I was able to slowly detach myself from him and allow him the freedom to face the consequences of his own actions. The boundaries that were always so blurry became clearer. It wasn’t easy, but in the process, I began to experience that priceless gift of serenity. I was able to weather through the toughest of times, when my son was homeless on the streets of San Diego…and love him unconditionally, without judgment or resentment. As I was healing, my son was still gripped in his disease. I wanted and needed to be healthy for myself, so I could be there for my family and for him when he was ready to walk the path to sobriety. When he finally decided he was ready to change, his Higher Power pointed him to New Life House.
He is now a graduate with over 2 ½ years of sobriety. My son works daily to deal with life on life’s terms. I should do no less. Through working on my own recovery, I have learned to turn my fear into faith, and rest on the knowledge that I only have to do today. My continued recovery keeps me balanced so that I may face the uncertainties of life with a healthy perspective. As a result, the relationship with my son has deepened to a level I never thought possible. We share a mutual framework of communication (gifts of the Program) and I have a renewed respect for him and can support him in a healthy manner. We are walking on this journey side by side, each of us working towards spiritual and emotional fitness as independent, not co-dependent beings. Recovery allows me to experience life’s richness and joy. At times I still struggle, lapse into old ways frequently, but I enjoy living a life of gratitude and not a day goes by that I don’t give thanks to my Higher Power for this incredible journey of love, faith and trust.
Written by Debbie O.