She Is Staying Off The Dance Floor

My best friend Lucy has a son who is an addict. He is 36 (I think) and has been in and out of jail for drugs and drug related crimes since he was a young teen. He even lived with me for about a year when he was getting his life together and attending school to become a drug and alcohol counselor, which he did achieve. For a very brief period of time, things were going well for him and we were all so very proud of him.

Sadly, it did not last long. He couldn’t, or maybe I should say, wouldn’t fight his demons by using the tools and support he had been given and ended up back in jail, looking at a lot of time. Once he was there he started blowing up Lucy’s phone, day and night, for every little thing he needed/wanted. Actually, he was doing that before he ended up in jail but it got worse afterwards. He worked every angle he possible could and ended up with a sweet deal which would have landed him in a long-term, in-patient recovery program and he accepted it. However, they released him a few months ago and he never reported to the program.

Let me just take a step back and tell you about my journey with Lucy. She has struggled with codependency for her entire life, just as I have. We have walked many years together through this journey. We have listened to, cried with, lectured, leaned, coached, and encouraged each other through so many seasons of our lives. We are not only best of friends but have given each other permission to hold each other accountable when we may be slipping in our codependency. Oh sure, there have been times when one of us didn’t like or want to hear what the other had to say but we would step back and reflect on what the truth was and come to terms with it. We have a wonderful, supportive and accountable relationship which only makes the journey of recovery that much sweeter.

So back to now…I saw a post from Lucy’s son this weekend on Facebook that just pained my heart. He ranted on about his “family” but really meaning his mother. It was a horrible post and I was worried that there had been some major conflict over the weekend. I called to check up on her this morning and was pleased to hear that she did not sound distressed. She was quite up-beat as a matter of fact.

I asked if anything had happened but it hadn’t. She had blocked his phone calls a couple of months ago, after he was calling daily to get money, or a ride, or a place to shower…yadda, yadda. Then about a week or so ago, he texted asking why she had blocked his calls and let her know what town he was in. She never responded. She has danced this dance before and knows how it will affect her and the rest of the family. Does it make her sad to have to do that? Yes! Does it hurt her heart to cut her son off? Yes! Is she doing it because she doesn’t love him anymore? Hell NO! She will be there in a heart-beat when he decides to get clean (and actually puts actions behind his words) to encourage and support him however she can, without negatively affecting her life and health.

Do you know what that is called? That is detaching and getting/staying off the dance floor! It is something she has to do to keep her peace of mind. It has to be done to help eliminate the stress that causes her MS to flare up and make her sick. It has to be done so she can focus on taking care of herself and living a healthy life.

She knows his post and text message are just manipulation tactics to get her to engage. If she responds, she knows that opens the line of communication and the calls for money, rides, demands, etc., start all over again. She knows he is a grown man who has the tools and the support of others in recovery, that are waiting for him to come back. She knows that there is NOTHING she can do to help him get better; his life and how it turns out is completely up to him.

We are mothers and the last thing we ever want to do is to have to detach from our adult children. But, when the adult children are using and manipulating you, it has to be done. When they are bringing chaos into your life, are not being respectful, and blame you for everything wrong in their lives, it has to be done.  It is NOT our job to rescue them from the consequences of their actions and it is NOT our job to figure out what they should be doing with their lives and how to do it. He knows what to do to get his life back on track and he chooses not to. His life is no ones fault but his own.

For as long as she has been on this journey of recovery, it is still hard for her because she loves him so. But, because she has done what is best and healthiest for her, she has much peace about it. As hard as it is to detach and stay off the dance floor, I am so proud of her for doing it!

 

7 replies »

  1. This is 100% the truth. Tough love. We have to save ourselves if the addict cannot save himself or herself. We hope the day will come that we can help again but we need to be healthy and whole to do that. I have detached from two people in my family and both of them got into a program and entered recovery and are still in recovery. It can work. I hope your friend can hang in there. Great post thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Anne! Some people just don’t understand that detaching does not mean you don’t care anymore or you stop loving the person. So glad to hear that your family members are doing the work they need to do to be healthy!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for writing about this. Many people do not understand about enabling and detachment. And many people underestimate the power of addiction. Recovery is a more work than most people realize, for both the addict and for the family members.

    Liked by 1 person

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