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Mother Of An Addict, No Longer Ashamed

It took me many years to be able to share freely that I am the mom of an Addict.

No more shame, No more Silence. 

“Addiction is rarely, truly, a secret. Hiding it behind a shroud of shame isn’t really hiding it. It simply perpetuates the notion that addiction is something to be ashamed about. Just as my addicted child has choices, so do I. I am the one who gets to choose how to cope with this disease that was killing me and my family. And I choose to live a life that is not full of secrets and shame.” ~Sandy Swenson.

Many of us try and explain what we go through. No one gets it but those that live it. Explaining it is too difficult- so we most often hold it in. Keeping it a secret however, is giving power to the stigma. So I too, shall “Recover Out Loud”, not as someone who has struggled with addiction, but as a loving mother, I will tell my son the same thing I am instructing all who love an addict: “don’t be ashamed”. If stigma is indeed the biggest hurdle to asking for help, then maybe this is the best thing we can do for our children! 

Yes, it is difficult to be the mother of an addict, just as it must be incredibly difficult to be an addict. 

It is like a continual cycle of grief- Shock, Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Testing, Acceptance. Only it goes on and on until we learn how to change our reactions. Changing our reaction helps us to keep moving forward, keep hoping, trusting, believing and somehow we all survive the crises. Then, we brace for the relapse.

Sometimes we get “stuck” in those stages because our loved ones are “stuck” too. So moving on is harder. The grief changes day to day and minute to minute because we weren’t supposed to know how to deal with a child slowly dying and us trying to save them. We are not supposed to know how to deal with the hijacked mind of our dear child that spews only lies, anger, meanness, disappointment, fear and shame to this level. This isn’t what our hopes and dreams are for our kids.

My addict child has a child, younger siblings, many extended family, friends and people who love them dearly. We all share the pain, suffering, fear, worry and shame of this addiction. No one escapes it. As the mother, I must be this families ambassador of hope, perseverance and unity. I am

My addict child is an amazing beautiful person that makes me proud and desperate all in the same instance. My addict child is so full of shame that their shame breaks the heart of this mom who loves them so much.

This long journey- has been the foundation that has formed me into the woman that I am today. It’s effects have spilled over into all that drives me, all that makes me what I am. I try hard to be better than I was yesterday. I forgive others who fail me- because I fail and am in need of grace and forgiveness. I have messed up in this battle many times. Said the wrong things- gave too much, believed too much, gave too little.

No matter the circumstances surrounding me, even if I wake up tomorrow and the world is on fire, I will not lose my hope in healing. I will not stop moving forward in everything that I am blessed to do. I will keep speaking God’s grace and protection over my children, grandchildren, my family. I will keep humbling myself to learn from my mistakes, keep being grateful for the things that I learn and the strength that these experiences give.

I will keep believing things will get better for them and keep hoping for complete healing. Right up to the end!