Today’s post is Part 2 of our interview with the mother of an addict. This is a continuation from last week’s blog on Jan. 27th. I believe there are many things she shared that will be of great value to you or to any parent in pain.
7. How did the experience of your son’s heroin addiction affect your marriage? What did you do?
My husband and I initially approached our son’s addiction and self-destructive life-style on the same page. But over time, we realized that I was a bigger push-over and my husband was a bigger “tough love” proponent.
This led to many disagreements and hurt our sense of oneness. In order to deal with this, we spent time (and still do) with other couples who have survived situations like this to receive their input.
We also attended a support group for families who had children in outpatient therapy. This helped us realign our focus, prioritize our marriage and family life, and once again become a united front in the battle that threatened to destroy us. Since early in the journey Hope for Hurting Parents was a tremendous resource.
8. How did this impact your other children?
All of them are in therapy, working through the effects this has had on them. Each one responded differently. Some struggled with anger and feelings of betrayal (lying and stealing from them). Initially, our youngest felt she let her brother down and struggled with feelings of not having been able to help him. But, they were all willing to forgive him when he asked (during rehab) and they’ve been willing to work on rebuilding their relationship.
9. Were there any resources you found that you want to share?
Allison Bottke’s book, Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children and Prayers for Prodigals by James Banks; attending the IOP (Intensive Out-Patient) group time for family members and family therapy sessions. The most helpful resource was Hope for Hurting Parents. I loved (and still love) reading their daily devotionals and the blog posts.
10. What role did faith play in how you coped?
My faith in God’s love, compassion, sovereignty, and power increased as I spent time pouring out my heart to him, spending time in His Word, not just looking up verses on my current situation (which I also did), but really delving into the Scriptures (online is an option) so that my faith would grow, regardless of the circumstances. I also learned about contemplative prayer and quieting my mind before the Lord. This was what He used (still uses) to grow my love, peace, and trust in Him.
11. What are some other things you did that helped?
My husband and I made sure we planned date nights to do things we enjoyed. During our recreational times together, we agreed not to discuss our son or his issues. We needed that break! We went to movies, football games, on hikes or for drives in the mountains. Something as simple as a trip to Home Depot (just the two of us) was a nice reprieve.
I worked in my garden and spent time decorating my house for holidays. Even during the worst part of our son’s addiction, we still had neighbors over for our annual chili night in the fall. We also spent time with friends who cared enough to ask how we were without judgement.
We tried to continue doing the things that brought us joy, despite the heaviness in our hearts.
12. What are some favorite Bible verses that helped you?
These are a few of the ones I’ve posted around my house (kitchen, bathroom, bedroom):
“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone: my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation. He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is a mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge” (Psalm 62:5-8).
“The Lord says, ‘I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you’ ” (Psalm 32:8).
“By waiting and calm you shall be saved, in quiet and trust lies your strength” (Isaiah 30:15).
Prayer: Lord, please speak to the heart of every parent who reads this interview. May they find encouragement and hope for their journey from this mom’s honest sharing.