It has been a challenge to deal with two children with addiction problems at once. I am TIRED.
A week ago, my son rushed himself to the E.R. due to an infection from a dirty needle; and waking up vomiting out of control. Even then, he wouldn’t admit his use. He is living in this denial of ‘if he doesn’t say it to us, we are clueless.’ We’ve just worked eight months of recovery with our daughter in our home, and five years of substance abuse. We know a thing or two, and always did.
I asked the nurse how that infection occurred- she gave me ‘a look,’ then said, “Your son will have to tell you what he’s doing to himself to cause that infection.” <wink> I let her know I had visited their E.R. two weeks ago when my daughter attempted suicide with a deadly alcohol/pill combo. The nurse grabbed my elbow and gave me a little squeeze in support.
My daughter is completing her work release from getting a felony assault while on probation. On her second day in, she called me and said she felt like she deserved to be there. (Well, yes)
But then she said, “I am dealing with the consequences for a lifetime of stuff I got away with, not just violating probation. I deserve this.” She has been very humble and taking this time to think about everything. I have used the word ‘consequences’ daily for over a year now, as it seems my kids didn’t grasp that concept into adulthood. They had consequences in my home, but maybe I was too lenient or didn’t follow through enough. I don’t know- it just seemed like a lost concept in their reasoning skills.
One kid doing so well in recovery- even while living by their rules in a semi-lockup situation. The other, now off probation and parole, and making inconsistent changes to better his life at 29 years old. I have to give him credit for working (though we wonder if he still has a job at this time). How do you applaud employment knowing next time it could be worse than an infection? It took me a year to communicate new thinking strategies with my daughter. These things take time.
The Fear of Fear.
My son moved back in December; maybe it will take a year to start helping him change his ideas, too. The mind and the way it works, processes, and finalizes our thinking and responses are powerful.
I sit here, anticipating the shoe to drop. We spend days hoping our son is at work, and nights hoping he comes home alive. The recent medical emergency of infection reminds us that we still have to worry. I am filled day and night with a fear I cannot shake. People die every day from one last high. We saw that in December. Living in this fear is trying.
As a Christian, I do not believe that fear should occupy my thoughts very long. After all, we read 365 times (depending on who counted in which version) to ‘not fear’ in the Bible. This worry here, it is from the devil, and we have no means of escape. Even in letting go and letting God (not my favorite phrase), we falter. Because this isn’t just a statistic on a news report-this is my child. We need to acknowledge that this is a precious human life that matters.
Our goal mimics the same purposes of other parents in the same boat along different waters- love your kids through recovery. Stand firm and be aware of their tactics to harm themselves. Maintain your boundaries and rules, and give yourself grace and love with a time out and away.
We have nothing if we give it all and never love ourselves. Stepping back refuels, and we all need the break for our sanity. If you walk alongside one child in the war or multiple children, our hearts all beat and break the same. We all have needs in the midst of our pain.