Addiction: Perhaps I’ve Been The One Fighting The Battles

A friend, whose husband is an alcoholic, wrote to me: I remember when you had breast cancer and what a struggle that was. I found it poignant when you wrote that just as you had to fight breast cancer in order to live, your son Jeff  had to fight addiction in order to live. Well, that’s what I expect my husband to do. He’s better than someone who just lets life mow him over. Perhaps I’ve been the one fighting his battles. Every time he gets himself into a bad situation, he has left it up to me to fix it. Since I’m fairly resourceful, I’ve been fixing most of the problems he has created, but he needs to pick up his weaponry and fight, for himself and not for me.

My reflection: My friend had courage to write to me about her husband. It takes strength to share stories of the underbelly of our relationships, the stuff we don’t advertise on Facebook or want to tell our friends and family. 

For many years I fought my son’s battles with addiction. When he got into trouble, I rushed to fix things. That’s what moms do, right? The problem was that I denied my son the opportunity to learn from the consequences of his behavior.  

Today’s promise: At the end of my son’s 14 -year heroin addiction, I finally got out of the way. I remember vividly the day I surrendered. Jeff called and screamed at me to send him money or “anything negotiable.” Through my tears, I said, “If you don’t get help, you’re going to die. When I had breast cancer, I could have died. I had to choose to fight for my life. You have to fight, too. I can’t do it for you. Fight, son, fight. ” 

When Jeff finally understood that he was the one who had to choose life, he started on the painstaking road to recovery. Making the decision to put down drugs and to live in the solution requires daily commitment and hard work. 

We each have to face our demons. In the end, my son did just that. 

Today, I’ll get out of the way so that my child can face the consequences of his addiction. I will allow him the dignity to confront his own challenges. I’ll pray that he chooses to save himself. There is only room for one in addiction . 

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  1. I am scared to step aside because my son is my best friend. My husband, his dad passed away when he was young. He never really grieved or talked about it but he held it all in. My husband became an addict after a back injury at work and died from fentanyl overdose. My children were so very anti- drug for all of their years until my sons last year of college when I started noticing a chance. Well …. my story is too long but I don’t talk about it to anyone because my son was the one that was president of his class, high honors, deans list, captain of hockey team, most popular, handsome, respectful, loving, compassionate, thoughtful, a Pre Med student, The one that the town would call the doctor to be. He shadowed doctors around the world to help the needy. He is a complete genius with an IQ of 148. He was going to be a brain surgeon. He blames me that he couldn’t go on to med school because we were poor and he already had too many college loans and nobody could help us. Well he is still smart and became an immunologist at MIT with a remarkable future but he is going down hill really fast. I am down to 98 pounds and don’t feel healthy enough to enjoy my daughter and granddaughter. I am sad. I am sick, I am hurt, stressed, angry, embarrassed and very very scared and confused. I tried a learn to cope meeting once but just couldn’t relate because I felt my son was different. Boy was I wrong. When I try stop being his enabler he begs me that I’m all he has, please don’t abandon him. He will kill himself, he begs me to please help him because I’m all he has and he’s alone. He’s lost all his fiends, his beautiful girlfriend. Nobody talks to him. I lost my home, my job, my friends and now my health. I’m worried about not only him but myself also. I love him so very much but he wants me all to himself. He wants to be with me all the time and gets angry if I don’t talk to him for a day. He has been getting violent with me. I keep protecting him when he gets arrested and they let him go. I sectioned him once and the state put him in jail instead of rehab. So because he was almost rapped I can’t send him back to jail. He had PTSD for a long time. That was 4 years ago. I have had him sectioned for rehab but he denies it and gets out in 3 days. He tells me he ends up helping kids with their addiction and the staff loves him so they , not even the court doctor believes me. He just turned 30. He consumes all my thoughts. I don’t eat. I don’t sleep. I had to move a few days ago because he won’t leave me alone. I even have a restraining order on him but he keeps begging me to drop it. I’m a mess and I feel so alone. I get a a daily meditation from Hazelden moms reading And everything written in those daily readings is exactly how I keep feeling over and over again. My son thinks he’s so smart that he knows his own body intake but today was a stepping stone in the wrong direction. Today I learned after he always promised he would never go to Fentanyl from Percocet he has and I just knew . He doesn’t lie to me which sometimes I think mY be worst, idk but he’s not going to survive long. My son can’t take 1 or 2 ibuprofens, or his anxiety meds or anything… he takes excessive amounts of everything. I can’t loose him . I just can’t loose him because I don’t think I could survive and my daughter and granddaughter need me … I am all they have. I’m sorry for the long story. I’m just desperate for someone to talk to and I heard your story and i am deeply deeply sorry. I can’t even imagine the heart ache. My heart is so broken now, I cry all the time, I’ve aged so much because he is killing me. Taking me with him. Thank you . God be with you and your family . Please stay safe, healthy and strong ??❤️

    • Dearest Brenda, Thank you for reaching out and for sharing your fears and worries. I’m sorry, truly sorry for all you’ve had to live through and continue to live through. You can’t loose your son, yet he is chasing you away. Your son is smart, and sometimes that works against the addict. My son was that way — he thought he was different and that he could control his addiction. Until he couldn’t.

      Al-Anon saved my sanity. When I was desperate, I finally dragged myself to three different Al-Anon meetings. I wept through the first two and felt disconnected from everyone, but I finally found my home group at the third meeting where there were other mothers who were also struggling with addicted children. I found solace in the Al-Anon literature, and I began reading with furor in order to educate myself. This might be something that you want to consider.

      You are not alone. We are here for you – all the mothers in this group. We’ve all been where you are, in one way or the other.

      Beverly Conyers wrote an article in MomPower that you might find helpful: “Six Reasons Why Detaching with Love is Good for You.” You might give it a read.

      I join you in prayer for your son and for your strength. My love to you.

  2. I love your final paragraph- I plan to write it down and read it everyday. Thank you for your kind words- prayers to you and your family

    • Dear Diane, Thanks for your support and compassion. Dr. MacAfee, my son’s beloved addiction therapist, told me years ago, “There is only room for one in addiction.” I, like you, wrote it down. My love to you.

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