Detachment / Attachment

The subject of detachment was brought up at the NAR-ANON meeting. I listened to the attendees discuss what role detachment from their addict presented to their lives. As I listened, I thought back to when I first attended a meeting and where was I at that time. For the most part I felt detached before even hearing the phrase. I had previously spent many years dealing with substance abuse with one of my other sons who succumbed to the disease. Now with a second son addicted to heroin, having already decided in my mind that this was nothing more than a weakness, anger resulted in detachment. His absence from my life as well as family while he was an active user as well as when he passed only heightened the anger of what he had done to his life and the family and friends. I looked at it as a total waste of God given talents.
No doubt this entire belief wreaks of someone who was a poor father who lacked love and understanding. I never felt that way but I’ll let the higher power make judgement.
This disease drains the emotions and any clear thinking of what the addict them self is experiencing. At some point, I believe it was when we left the second son at the detox facility far from home, I decided that having lost one son to drugs and alcohol I was not going to stand by and loose another without an all-out attempt to understand what the disease was about and what if anything we can as parents, spouses or friends do to try and return both the addict and yourself to normalcy in life. The task is huge for all concerned. It takes strength, fortitude, a will to live and above all enormous love and support. I have to be honest to myself that even practicing all the above drugs such as heroin or any controlled substance can still win the battle. We need to understand that the battle is lifelong. You need to be prepared for failures or relapse. This does not mean all is lost. Many recovering addicts have relapsed numerous times but found strength to enter back into the battle. This is where our part comes in with love and support. If we understand addiction, we will be more apt to provide the fundamental need the addict needs to be successful. I don’t believe overcoming addiction is an independent challenge. Successful recovering addicts know that a combination of things is needed. Not only, love and support, their sponsor, meetings, the “steps” and a great deal of prayer will help provide the strength necessary.
For myself I kept a daily journal of my feelings and those of my son in rehab. We both began to understand the feelings and emotions each of us had during his eighteen months in rehab. I attended NA, AA and NAR-ANON meeting. I met many of those active addicts going thru this with him. At the same time, I listened the heartaches of so many parents, spouses and friends of active addicts. Success stories were few and far between. I decided after his eighteen months in rehab to author this blog as a way of continuing my growth in understanding substance abuse. I met many people who were directly associated with addiction such as counselors, sponsors, physicians, and mentors in some fashion. I even elected to do a podcast on the Mental NewsRadio Network with a successful physician in Florida who has help so many and researches new and innovative approaches in aiding substance abuse. I enrolled in a Recovery Coach class sponsored by the health department to learn more of what I might do to get directly involved.
I guess what I’m saying is for me detachment led to attachment. All this investigation created a strong bond not only with my son in active recovery but for my son who had succumbed to the disease. The more knowledge I gained of addiction the more understanding I gained of what each son experienced. One has managed active recovery for five years next month. The other spent years of ups and downs and turmoil throughout his life until his death. Understanding and searching for answers eliminated years of anger and frustration for me and at the same time sadness and guilt for the detachment in both cases. I understand detaching and the need for it but at the same time the greater need to do all you can to save someone you love.

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