I’m So Scared My Teeth Hurt

A mom wrote to me: It’s 3:00 a.m., and my daughter went out to drink and use. We’ve been at this a long time. She’s been in psychiatric hospitals and had therapists. She’s been in rehabs, sober living houses, halfway houses, detoxes, and more sober houses. For me, I’m in Al-Anon, have a sponsor, am taking antidepression medication, go to meetings, meditate, and have support. But I can’t take the pain of it. I pray and pray. Tonight, I called a prayer line and have put her in God’s hands, but I’m still scared. 

I’m writing to you because I’m awake in the middle of the night, sad, and completely powerless. I’m in this limbo of not knowing if she’s safe or not. I’m losing hope while trying to keep hope and faith. I know there are no guarantees. 

I never saw this for our family. I’m so tired of wondering what and where it all went wrong. Our family had so much fun when the kids were young.

This feeling is like letting go of the steering wheel with a semitruck coming head-on or letting go of her slipping hands as she’s falling off a bridge. God’s gotta have her, right? There’s nothing I can do. I’m just so sad.

It’s times like these I’m so scared my teeth hurt.

My reflection: I, too, tried countless ways to stop my son’s 14-year heroin addiction. I dragged him to therapists, forced him into treatment centers, paid his bills, and tracked him down whenever he couldn’t be found. Fear took over my life.

Today’s Promise to consider: There is only room for one in addiction, and I am not that person. It took me 14 years of watching my son chase his next high before I finally acknowledged that the power to stop him was outside my control. As sobering as it was, it was crucial for me to realize that no matter how much of myself I poured into his illness, the choice to stop was his alone.

Standing back is difficult, almost impossible at times, but I need to get out of the way and allow my addicted loved one to come to the solution on his terms. I surrender my will and pray. God is in charge, not me.

Today, I admit that I cannot control anyone other than myself. Today, I accept that my loved one has to make his own mistakes. Today, I will keep hope alive and continue to believe that he will come home, to himself and our family.

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  1. I pray for all families dealing with addicted loved ones. I too have hurt so bad my teeth hurt as well. The pain is unbearable at times. Worst nightmare I have ever lived. I pray these lost souls find their way to God and a better life. Much love

    • Dear Amy, I join you in prayer for all the families dealing with addicted loved ones. Yes, addiction is the worst nightmare possible. It wants to suffocate us. Let’s keep hopeful and continue to pray. Much love back.

  2. Thanks for sharing both stories. I am a Mom of addicts. My son is free of drugs, but not alcohol (and yes, I believe that is a drug also). My daughter became addicted to opioids when she realized, after a surgery, that they made her feel “normal” due to childhood trauma. She is now incarcerated for writing an illegal prescription…she was a Doctor. I have been dealing with addiction all my life, I am an adult child of an alcoholic parent. My journey has been long (68) years and I am tired.
    I attend AlAnon and am forever grateful for the program. I continue to try to let go and just live in the moment, some moments are hard.
    I love my children, who just happen to be addicts! I support them 100% in their sobriety. I will continue to tell my story if someone wants to hear it. I feel no shame in my situation…they have a disease for which there is no cure. Never give up hope and always make sure they know you love them!

    • Dear Donna, Thanks for writing. You are tired. I understand – you’ve been dealing with addiction all your life. I, too, find hope and support in Al-Anon. You’re right – we need to continue to tell our stories and reach out a helping hand. I join you in prayer for your children. Please keep my two sons in your prayers. xo

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