Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Detaching FROM Love

When I think back about our experiences while Alex was actively using many thoughts and emotions come to the surface. It's hard thinking about what exactly DID we do right? A couple things come to the surface about what we did wrong; tough love and detaching from love.

I wrote not long ago about the importance of listening. I saw my own shortcomings in that area. Still I do a lot more talking than listening. I've always heard that you are never learning if your mouth is open. It's amazing that I can even walk and breath at the same time.

Listening is so critical in parenting an addict, but sharing carries much weight too. Darlene and I would listen to anyone no matter their credentials or experience. We were lost without a map. As I look back not a single person in our history gave advice that wasn't sincere. Every single person was trying to help and we felt so much love from our family, friends, bloggers and even strangers. I guess most people can relate to a parent that fears they may soon lose there child at any time.

How do you separate and analyze the advice that helps and the counsel that harms everyone involved? That takes a person much wiser than me to figure that one out. However, I have decided one thing that I would never say or do again. Call it what you may but I'm going to cut straight to the chase, TOUGH LOVE.

Tough love is one of those generic terms that gets thrown around very loosely. First, I HATE the term, I have written about it before. But as soon as you hear tough love everyone has an opinion but one thing it seems everyone agrees within the definition is "throw'em out".

We tried it, many times in fact. Nearly every time it was done in anger. Which is the worst time to make a decision and set a plan. Throw the little bastard out, "I don't care if he is cold and is hungry. I just can't take it any more. If he doesn't like it then he'll stop using," said by a father. I'll steal a question from Dr. Phil, "How's that working for you?"

Detach FROM love, if I try not to care then I won't hurt. Out of sight, out of thought.

Sometimes it is easy to forget, there is a person inside there. Addiction destroys the body and convolutes the mind but there is a person in there with all the needs of any human being. There are basic life survival needs and the same emotional needs as the rest of us. Most of all I believe the need to be loved never goes away. What hope is there for an addict if love is absent, withheld or conditional?

Taking care of yourself is imperative. You must do what it takes to stay healthy in yourself. If that means detaching and your child cannot live in your home that is right. Detach from the drugs and things that go along with addiction, do not detach from your child. Detach WITH love toward that human being that is such a huge part of your life.

If you have read this blog for any time at all you have been exposed to my many analogies. I use them because I am a simple guy and by breaking something down for myself it's easier for me to understand. Many times I have used the word "path" to describe the life my son was living. "I was on a path and he was on a path and no longer could I walk his path." There is nothing more true than that statement.

I now picture it like this: The snow is three feet deep. My son is struggling and trudging through. Laboring every step. I am not there to lift his legs or hold him up. I am beside him on my path however I am guiding a huge snow blower in front of me. It is helping to clear my path. My son is only ten feet away but he cannot come to my path if he continues his path. Every day I tell him how welcome he is to join me on my path, I tell him I would love to help ease his struggle. Every step my hand is out with encouragement but I cannot put him on my path. He must grasp my hand AND do the work it takes to make it to my path. We are separated but we still love.


10 comments:

Hattie Heaton said...

Ron your analogy was exactly what I needed to hear. It makes clear and perfect sense and is a defining boundary, one that I needed help in clarifying. Thank you so much.

Anna said...

So very true

Senta said...

Thank you Ron. Its so difficult to live with an addicted young adult in the house. But we need to keep love front and centre. We struggle on how to help them when they do not want our help.

Bobbie Babble said...

Great analogy! We have a daughter in recovery. (again) This time we are doing things differently. It's not just our addict that needs to change it is us.

It's easy for me to say now, because she is in a bubble at a treatment facility. Once she is out of that bubble she is going to a sobriety house. Our actions/words need to be different. I know all that, i just hope I can do it if the chips are ever down again.

Thanks for sharing your life.

Dad and Mom said...

Bobbie,

I would definitely recommend a sober living facility. Our son's only success in 7 years before he stopped was at a sober living facility in Topeka KS. He was 60 miles from his old hangouts and he didn't have a vehicle. The sober living house was on a bus route so that was his transportation.

You are so right about everyone must change. I wrote about what I learned after a year of Alex's recovery. I don't know if you have seen it before. http://parentsofanaddict.blogspot.com/2011/11/parents-and-recovery.html

Good Luck and best wishes.

Anonymous said...

Ron
Thank you so much for this post. I have come to the end of my rope with people offering advice about tough love, by the way I HATE that term too. I did try throwing my son out it didn't work for him or me and it was done in anger. This is so HARD I don't have to tell you. But I am thankful for your blog and Alex's recovery, It gives me HOPE!
Thank you,
Lisa (Mom of a beautiful boy who is an addict)

John Burns said...

Another touching post, Ron. I suppose all we CAN do is show them that we love them and that we will always be there for them.

Syd said...

Very true, Ron. It has to be that there is love. And offering a hand that the other person has to grasp. Otherwise, it's just another form of controlling.

pernillaburke said...

thank you so much for this, your words are so wise and you are amazing! pernilla

krystina anderson said...

THE CAUSE / 4:10 PM
A Facebook POST From a friends mom to her son:

IT IS REALLY SAD THAT DYLAN CAIN BUTLER CANT EVEN CLEAN UP TO RIDE TO PICK HIS BROTHER UP FROM PRISON. HOW DISAPPOINTING FOR ROBBIE'S WIFE TO HAVE TO TELL ROBBIE THAT FUCKIN DOPE WAS MORE IMPORTANT TO DYLAN CAIN BUTLER THAN TO RIDE WITH HIS FAMILY TO PICK UP HIS BROTHER. I HAVE NO MORE TIME FOR BULLSHIT LIKE THIS. I THOUGH BLOOD WAS THICKER THAN WATER BUT BLOOD SURE AINT THICKER THAN METH. WHAT A SAD FUCKING SITUATION. I AM LEAVING AT 2:30 TO GO TO MT DORA. WE WILL BE LEAVING ON SATURDAY TO MAKE THE TRIP TO PICK UP ROBBIE. TO ALL OF YOU METH HEAD MONSTERS, STAY THE FUCK OFF OF ROBBIE'S FB PAGE. THAT IS NOT HIS AGENDA ANYMORE. HIS AGENDA IS HIS FAMILY. MAMA GAIL


THE EFFECT / 4:04 PM...
My Response:

Unexpected, I began to replay the thoughts and words of my own family, as your post, admit-tingly must have hit home for me, because it sounded as if it were written to me from my own mother, Pam Ferrelli (and why i became so determined to put my two cents in) I began to think, "How selfish I myself was being and in truth how selfish I have been, for a really long time, TWENTY years now."
No wonder My own mother, had to "let me go" and "give me to god". (For the first time) I wondered, "How hard her truly letting me go, must have been for her?
and with that, "How hard it must be for any parent to accept that there child might die, and there is nothing they can do about it? Talk about Powerless.
Ms. Cavalier, while still determined to respond to your post, I now only want to respond with a really big. "THANK YOU!"

Thank you for taking the time to show you care!

As a result of this post- I found your blog and was profoundly affected and my thoughts were reaffirmed by what I READ:


Thank both of you for taking the time to show you care- For continuing to fight for recovery even when we had pratically done all but pulled the trigger n our own lives.

It is time us addicts stand up together and thank our unsung heroes...

Without you all hope would be forgotten!!!!

XOXO- Krys