Rock bottom is a sad and hopeless place where the tears flow freely and energy, peace and happiness are but a memory. I found myself there after years of dealing with my son’s addiction.
I am a take charge type of person so when I found out that my son was struggling with addiction I naturally jumped into action trying to help him. Sadly, no matter what I tried to do or how much encouragement I provided, it didn’t work. His drug use continued to escalate causing his mental, emotional and physical health to spiral down even further, and mine did, too. I was out of ideas and out of hope.
I couldn’t stand to see my son self-destructing. I worried every day that he would die. This constant worrying affected my mental health. The lady who many people have described as “the most positive person I have ever met” was dealing with depression. I was shocked with the diagnosis but as I reflected on how I was feeling, it began to make sense.
I didn’t like rock bottom; not at all. I wanted out of there and fast! I knew that I wasn’t going to be any good to my son, my other children or my husband if I was sick and couldn’t get out of bed. I needed to do something. Knowing that I had no control over my son, I started focusing my energy on the one person that I could control: me.
My first step to my own recovery was to reach out to other families who were dealing with addiction. There is something very healing about being around people who understand. They don’t judge because they, too, found out the hard way that this can happen to any family.
My husband and I also got educated quickly about addiction. When it comes to this misunderstood and stigmatized illness, education is very important. As family members, we are better equipped for the difficult journey when we know and understand what we are up against.
In our search for information, we looked for credible sources just like we would if our son had any other serious health issue. The more my husband and I learned the more effective we became at parenting our son through his addiction while maintaining a healthy and close relationship with him. Of course, there are never any guarantees. Sadly, some of the most loving parents educated in addiction have lost children. One thing is for sure, though, family members have nothing to lose by getting educated.
Today, I am healthy, informed and empowered, and rock bottom is but a memory. As for my son, he got the help that he needed and is now 17-months into his recovery and a full-time college student. He is healthy and happy and his life is moving forward. We are so grateful for the gift of recovery.
Never give up.