Our two adult children and their spouses are very supportive and understanding. We couldn’t have asked for much more from them.
Right before we admitted our son to rehab, I got this text message from my daughter-in-law: “You are being a GREAT mother by making a choice to help save your child’s life. Sometimes the hardest choices in life are the best ones for your family. He may say he hates you at first or be angry but I really feel in the end he will thank you. Keep your chin up and keep reminding yourself why you are doing this and that you are being a good mom for caring so much. And remember there is an end to it eventually.”
I appreciated that very much.
They were good about asking how everything was going and offered to listen if I needed to talk.
Our lives changed and our new schedule of group meetings, therapy sessions, AA meetings, and visits took a lot of time. The mental and emotional impact on us was sometimes overwhelming.
We didn’t mean to let that affect our relationships with our other children.
I had read that sometimes siblings of addicts might feel "picked on" because they are not getting the time and attention that the addict is getting, but I didn’t expect that to happen in our family.
My daughter thought that I wasn’t interested in her life, because I wasn’t calling her as much as I used to, and that when we did talk, all I did was talk about my son and what was going on with him. Once, I asked her to talk to my son about something just to see if she could help him and I found out that she thought all I was ever doing anymore was “using” her and not being there for her in her life.
After I told my husband what happened, he had a long conversation with her. One of the things that he told her was that I was doing the best that I could and that this is very HARD! He told her that when she was living at home, I did EVERYTHING for her that I could and that now it was time for me to do everything for our son that I could. He told her that she might have to be there for me for awhile, just like I have been there for her. He mentioned that neither she nor her brother had volunteered to spend some time with their little brother to give us a few hours of respite since we can’t leave him alone and he can’t go anywhere without us.
Shortly after that, my daughter and her husband volunteered to spend a few hours with him at their apartment. That was very nice.
My husband and older son are in business together. When the demands on my husband’s time increased it was necessary to sometimes start work later and get off work earlier. Our older son was understanding, patient, and willing to take over a lot of the responsibilities of the business. He was really great about it.
But, after a few months, he began to feel that things should be leveling out and that my husband needed to start acting like the head of the company again. This created tension. My husband felt that he was doing the best job he could and that he really wasn’t slacking off. But, my son felt that he needed to step-up and get his head back into the business. He said that contractors were noticing that my husband was pre-occupied and not readily available.
My son would call me and try to talk to me about how this was causing problems with the business and with his relationship with his dad. There were some bad feelings and resentments. I never knew what to say and I felt upset that all of this turmoil with our youngest son was causing problems with the business, too. Father/son personal relationships mixed with business relationships are hard enough without adding additional challenges.
The last thing that we needed was problems with our business. It had been hard enough for the last 2 years since the economy crashed. At this point we really needed things with the business to go as smoothly as possible. My husband and son needed to get along, but I didn't know how to help them.
We were going through one of the hardest things in our lives and we didn’t ever intend to make our adult children feel unloved and unvalued. It made me sad that that they felt neglected in their own separate ways.
Every day we were trying to do the best that we could as we dealt with what our son was dishing out and going through. There was always something causing emotional turmoil. It took a lot of time and energy and it affected the whole family more than we thought it would.
Just as life is one day at a time for the recovering addict, it is one day at a time for the parents of one, too.
Knowing how to live this life of parenting a recovering addict, being parents of adult children, being in-laws, and being grandparents too, is a discovery process.
We make mistakes and hope that when we do, we learn from them. We hope all of our family members know how much we would never want to hurt their feelings.
Everything that has happened makes us love and appreciate every one of them so much more.
I want them all to know that.