A few months ago I joined a Facebook group for momma’s who have addict children. There are over 34,000 of us in that group. I previously wrote about how when I initially found the group, it was an odd comfort for this weary momma. Then it just became too hard.
- Daily – mommas are reporting dead children.
- Daily – mommas are telling about how their AD or AS had x amount of days sober and then relapsed.
- Daily – kiddos are found in the street, unrecognizable, left to “hit rock bottom”.
There aren’t a lot of celebrations in that group. And it’s hard. I never intended to find a voice for myself among the other mommas to addicts or to people in my own life about how to love us well, but here I am – feeling the urge to help us all learn how to navigate this space together.
I’ll admit – it’s totally selfish. I’m 100% undone with life and, literally, can’t keep going this way. In the last few years, I’ve thought about ending my life more times than I care for anyone to really know. Not because I actually want to die, though. Because I have no desire to die. The madness that has become my life, though… I want *that* to stop. And I don’t know how to make that happen.
Before anyone freaks out or welfare checks me – I’m not going to hurt myself. I promise. I super-duper promise. I’m just hoping to help people understand the gravity of the issue some of these mommas are facing, and I know because I’m facing it too.
I’ve learned over the years to set aside the shame the enemy tried to use to label me. He’s labeled me in every way that wasn’t true, and I’ve shed every bit of it and have chosen instead to live transparently, authentically, and with brutal honesty about my struggles, successes, and areas in which work still needs to happen.
Except this area. Except this shame label. Except the one label that I’ve only shed in baby steps. Admitting that I’m the momma to an addict wasn’t hard, not really. Once he was public with it, then I was too… mostly. It’s still his story to tell, but I’m recognizing that I have a story in all of this, too. However, in my efforts as his momma to fiercely protect him, what people think about him, and manage how he’s perceived by anyone else, it’s caused me to become completely isolated. An island. All alone. And certainly it’s left me unable to share my own story.
Just how the enemy wants me.
Friends and family remind me that I disappoint them when I’m not willing to follow through on plans because I’m “dealing with things at home” or my inability to make plans for the future because I don’t know what my life will look like then or the unsolicited advice to do it this way, that way, or any other way than the way I’m doing it.
Tough love isn’t the way.
Compassionate care isn’t the way.
Rehabilitation isn’t the way.
Hitting rock bottom isn’t the way.
Jail, felonies, fines isn’t the way.
Losing family isn’t the way.
All of us mommas, struggling to help our kiddos, have overthought each and every way. Every scenario played out in full color and in full color in our minds, dreams, and hearts every day.
We know that we’re disappointing you by not doing it your way. We know that we’re failing in most areas of our life. We know that we need to do something, but finding that something isn’t easy. We simply don’t think the same way or even the same things that “normie” mommas think.
Last night, lying in bed, I thought about how I would react if my son’s girlfriend called me to tell me he’d been shot. How would I react? Cry? Scream? Run to him? Bury myself in work?
At least once a month, but usually more, I think about what would happen if I got home and found him dead – either self-inflicted or overdosed.
I have a speech prepared for his daughters, in case he dies and I need to tell them. I have one prepared for my mom too. And my dad. And my whole family and friend group. And for my boss.
These are only some of the thoughts that plague my mind and the mind of thousands of other mommas every day.
Each one of the kiddos who finds their way out of the pit of addiction finds it their own way, in their own time, and only when they’re complete ready to do it. There is no secret or magic formula.
Each one of the mommas who finds her way out of the cycle of addiction with her kiddo finds it her own way, in her own time, and when she’s completely ready to do it. There is no secret or magic formula.
We know that your intent isn’t to shame us or make us feel bad, not usually anyway… And if doing life with us is too hard, we get it. Really, we totally get it. Doing life with ourselves is hard.
But if you do choose to do life with us, thank you. We need you.
We need you to listen without judgement, to not be a sideline commentator, or just to love us right where we are at that moment.
We need your encouragement.
We need you to know that sometimes we will follow your advice, but sometimes we won’t.
We need you to know that we have very little peace in our hearts and minds.
We need you to know that our heads feel chaotic and swimmy.
We need you to know that sometimes we just need to focus on other stuff; work, projects, you.
We need you to know that we don’t usually want to talk about it, but if we need to talk about it, that we have safety with you.
We need you to know that whatever decisions we make have been made with so much thought, consideration, and every pro and con in-between listed out ahead of time.
We need you to know that we’re doing the very best we can.
We need to know you’re praying for us and lifting us up to God because most of us feel completely forgotten and left on our own.
We need to know that you’re consistently carrying our kiddos, their addictions, and their health to the feet of Jesus and that you’re on our team when we’re crying out to God to save our kiddo.
It’s a big ask. A lot to put on you. We know. Believe me, we know. It’s part of the reason we slink into the darkness. Loving us isn’t easy. We’ve become professionals at learning how to keep others at arm-length’s distance all the time. We know the complications of loving us. We struggle to love us, too.
Maybe this is a manifesto of sorts… a public statement about being an addict’s momma. A declaration, kinda.
This is us.