I kept a daily journal throughout my son’s recovery. The journal became an obsession with me. I used it as a learning tool. It soon became a way to measure my own behavior through my first son’s addiction and death and new understanding with my second. The journal was in-depth and personal.
It is far too lengthy to use as a blog. There were six major points that were addressed over the three-year period:
- Love Your Addict
- No Short Time Fix
- Home No More
- Financial Support vs Enabling
- Will Trust Ever Return ?
- The Journey Continues
I would like to provide an abbreviated accounting of those points but one at a time to allow for the reader to decide for themselves the pros and cons. I have elected not to use my sons’ names to maintain anonymity throughout my blog. I hope this does not make it more difficult to read.
Love Your Addict
The title of the journal was changed several times as I proceeded to write down my thoughts. More and more it became obvious that I was directing my anger and hate toward my two addict sons. In fact, I loved them dearly but was blind to their own struggle thru total absence of what addiction was and how it created these two strangers to me.
Thru my own fault I saw my youngest recovering son as nothing but as the one who succumbed all over again. I failed to see nothing more than a total failure and weakness to try and help himself. I unleashed the years of hate and anger on the youngest that I carried after the older son’s death. The thought of love was totally erased from my mind.
It was early in our journey that I started to realize how much damage I had done to myself as well as the two boys. Especially in the case of the deceased son, the nightmares of him kneeling and thinking no one who he had so much love for cared. He had done so much damage over the years that he managed to destroy what he needed most of all.
My early conversations with the youngest during his rehab helped me tremendously. He understood my anger towards him and my other son as well. His understanding made me step back and realize he was making the journey and I had not yet left the starting line.
I never had the chance to tell my deceased son I loved him. I know so many carry this burden throughout their lives in case of death for any reason. My issue was all the anger beforehand. This was my reason. I failed to understand and he left this earth with a father still full of anger and little love. In my other son’s case I found sadness rather than hate and pledged I would never fail to tell him that I loved him regardless of his faults. We end any phone conversation, text or message with saying “I love you”. I do this for him as well as myself. I cannot return to those nightmares and thoughts of leaving someone I loved knowing only that I did not reveal it to him but rather my anger.
I listen to so many stories of those affected by addiction of a loved one who are filled with hate and anger. It is a natural thing no matter the case, but more serious when addiction is involved. I find each time that I hear another speak of the hate and anger that I need to interrupt and say but tell them you love them. If you fail to do so, your life will be full of disorder and confusing behavior. You will not always be aware of it yourself but others will see and feel it in your words and actions. It may be a selfish suggestion on my part but it has helped me tremendously these last two years. As a result, my son and I are okay regardless of circumstance because we know there is love still present. It also has helped me understand My other son’s weakness and my own to understand the damage we did to each other. I look back now at my deceased son as someone I loved dearly and greatly miss from my life.
Recently I received a letter from the organization that provided the badly needed help and care for my son. There were several remarks in the letter that deeply impressed me. It mentions how we help ourselves by helping others and we cannot do this in isolation. There is a risk in loving each other and we become vulnerable. We each have good and bad and this is what makes us human. The journey not only heals the person suffering from addiction but all of us who journey with them. I firmly believe this is the case for son and myself. Over the last three years my son and I have caught up in the journey. We now reach out to try and help more than to seek help. Understanding and love must be present in the recovery process.