Sunday Inspiration for Parents of Addicts and Alcoholics

Are you ready to hear the unbiased truth?

Locked Up, Covered Up or Sobered Up – Three eventual outcomes of drug and alcohol addiction

bigstock-Yes-No-Maybe-Signpost-2866212 (2)In the journey of addiction there are only 3 outcomes for those who stay in their drug and/or alcohol addiction. They will eventually end up in jail, ‘locked up’, due to their substance abuse and all of the desperation that it causes and poor judgment that accompanies their using. Second, they could end up ‘covered up’ which is where their addiction leads to death. Death comes in many forms for those in addiction – car crashes driving under the influence, overdose of drugs sometimes on accident, other times on purpose, their body could just give up due to all of the harsh effects of continuous drugs and alcohol. As a parent these are devastating situations. Certainly losing a child to a prison or jail sentence is heart breaking. And losing your child to death is incomprehensible.
The last option and the one that we all carry hope for is that our loved ones will ‘sober up’. Of the three eventual outcomes, we pray endlessly that our loved ones will find recovery. We all wish there was a magic formula that would cure our kids and make them whole again. There isn’t an easy answer, but there are resources along the way. I have found that gaining as much knowledge about addiction as I can so that I can understand the disease will help me to know what I’m up against. I can also attend support group meetings (Al-anon) with other parents to help weather the storm with those who understand. And I can to be positive without being naïve about the realities of the situation. I will envision ‘sobered up’ as the outcome for my loved one and everyone who struggles with the disease of addiction.

Sunday Inspiration for Parents of Addicts and Alcoholics

Is your glass half full or half empty?

Sunday Inspiration for Parents of Addicts and Alcoholics

Is your glass half full or half empty?

Sunday Inspiration for Parents of Addicts and Alcoholics

Do you appreciate the journey others have taken to success?

Addiction and alcoholism: a dark room were negatives are developed

1431793_97522247 resentmentIt’s been said resentments are the dark rooms where negatives are developed. This conjures up a great deal of truth about resentments – all negative. For me, it always came when my sons did not do what I expected and when it really mattered. I usually had a financial or emotional investment in the action I was anticipating. Commonly defined as an emotional feeling resulting from fear or imagined wrong doing, resentments always kept me hostage to negativity; anger, sadness, frustration, contempt, tension.

As I work through the resentments I have harvested with regards to the family disease, I can see where my obsession with the addicts in my life was consuming me and thwarting any possibility of joy and happiness. Depending on other people for things that really mattered to me was the driving force behind my resentments. Since my perspective was disproportionately misdirected, it was as if THEY were held in higher standards than where I held myself.  And my self worth was predicated on them…no wonder I spent so much time trying to control…

It’s been said the amount of time you spend thinking about something should be in this proportion: God first, me second, them 3rd! My understanding of resentments has come full circle, and though I do not find myself having these emotional feelings as much anymore, they are not far surfacing when life happens to throw a curve ball. The difference today is I have a better support system to help me accept what is going on. I have choices in how I react to it.

Try exploring how the expectations we have for our loved ones can set us up for happiness or sorrow in our Meetings in A Box: Expectations.  You may discover your own dark room were negatives are developed.  You may begin to ask what really matters.


In the Flow – How going with the flow can help to ease your stress

Isn’t it always our nature to try to control everything going on around us? I know that are many times when I want things to go my way and yet the truth is that we don’t control many things. The obvious ones are things like the weather. We can hope, wish, pray that it is sunny or that it will rain and bring much needed water for our environment. We know that the weather is out of our control but other activities are little bit more elusive. We all want what is best for our children but what happens when their choices in life are not what we had hoped for? I have had to let go of so many expectations of my children. What I want them to do and what they choose to do with their lives are not always congruous.
It hasn’t been very easy to feel that I know what is best for my kids and have them go a different direction. Even the choices my daughter made on substance abuse. I tried everything to control the situation. She became an adult during this time and then it became doubly difficult because I could not make decisions for her anymore. Trying to control what she was doing only led me to stress and frustration. Over time I slowly learned that what she chose to do was out of my control. I could coach and support her but in the end the decision were hers. I learned to go with the flow which meant understanding what she was doing but not get involved in it. I slowly saw how this was alleviating my stress by keeping to my own business and not trying to control hers. It isn’t always easy but eventually you can find peace and serenity while staying in the flow.

Ask the Expert: Should we let our addicted daughter live with us?

bigstock-Yes-No-Maybe-Signpost-2866212 (2)YOUR QUESTION: My daughter has been in-n-out of rehab and sober living centers for the past 7 years. She has been a chronic relapser with an opiate addition. She also liked to mix zanax and alchohol. She recently got kicked out of her sober living center for drinking and has no where to go but home. She says she has no desire to going back to drug use, and will continue to work her program outside a sober living center. She would like us to pay for her apartment, but experience tells me that’s not the right thing. So.. she has been living at home (thus far uneventful) for the past 3 days. I guess the question I have is – should we let her live here and see if she can stay clean, kick her out, or get her an apartment ?

prison for addicts Brad DeHavenEXPERT BRADLEY DEHAVEN: Given the circumstances, it doesn’t appear you have a choice (which is not uncommon). Duplicate the rules of sober living at your home including random drug and alcohol testing, curfew, etc. Trust is earned and any addict in recovery will understand that. Living with you is a privilege. Also, any adult living in your home should contribute in every way possible. Where there is life there is hope! Hang in there and never give up!

Photo of Christy CrandellEXPERT CHRISTY CRANDELL: Right now, while it seems like you are helping her, you are really enabling her to continue her destructive lifestyle. If she is serious about working a program, then she will find another sober living center and abide by the rules as she is still obviously struggling with her addictions.

It is my opinion that she not live at your home NOR do you pay for an apartment for her. While I know this sounds harsh and it is hard to think of your daughter as being homeless, she has to take responsibility for her choices to continue drinking and using drugs.

Every county has an access number to get help to those in the community that are suffering from mental illness, substance abuse, homelessness. Give this number to her and tell her you will support her as long as she is actively involved in a program.

Finally, I would recommend you go to an Al-Anon meeting, specifically one for parents who have kids who are struggling with addiction. This will help you make good decisions both for yourself and your daughter as you travel on this difficult journey. Most of all, do not despair as many people find recovery every day!

Agreements for parents of addicts or alcoholics

checklist to keep our kids safeWe had a written agreement in hand when my chemically-dependent son left rehab.  It spelled out in no uncertain terms how our lives would intertwine in a healthy way, moving ahead.  It cut through the murky gray world we’d been foundering in during his active addiction by stating the new rules of engagement.  We all signed it with love in our hearts.

We did the contract more for us, as parents, than for our son.  Sure, it gave him direction and definition like:

  • We will support you in school as long as you are sober.
  • We can require a drug test at any time.  A refusal to test is a dirty test. 
  • This is your last rehab on us.  If you relapse, you’ll need t.o figure out how to get back on the horse.
  • You  are not allowed in our house if you are using any drugs or alcohol at all.  None.

The contract drew a line in the sand that we could all see and respect. It “had my back,” something this dazed and confused mom desperately needed to uphold healthy boundaries. At the end of the day, the contract defined and drove our relationship and was a strong tool in making our expectations clear to the entire family. It wasn’t long and it wasn’t complicated, but it was powerful.

Top Ten Ideas for Parents of Addicts and Alcoholics

My 3 SunzThis is an “encore” post from My3Sunz

This question was posed at an Al-Anon meeting with the emphasis being, “What works now, whereas before, the addict/alcoholic child’s risky behavior kept you in a tailspin? There are no pat answers, but by the end of the meeting, many people had spoken. Here’s the top 10 from the collective voices in recovery:

  1. Believing your recovery comes first
  2. Stop talking: WAIT (why am I talking?)
  3. You have the right to plan; you just can’t plan an outcome
  4. Stay in your hula-hoop (mind your own business)
  5. By working your 12-Step program which includes attending meetings regularly, reading the literature, working with a sponsor and giving service.
  6. Believing if you have a Higher Power that can restore you to sanity, they do too (and it’s not you)!
  7. You can’t make someone see the light – they have to feel the heat!
  8. Get out of their way, afford them the opportunity to learn and grow from their own trials.
  9. Changed attitudes will aid recovery.
  10. Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don’t say it mean!