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The Merry-Go-Round of Conversing With an Addicted Loved One

Connection. You KNOW it’s important. From toddlers to teens, we’re told to try to truly connect with our children.

So we do. We try constantly to let them know we are here, and we care. As adults, the dynamic changes into trying to not being so motherly and being just friends, in a way. We thrive in being connected to our adult children. It gives us a feeling of all those little ducklings in a row, not necessarily behind us crossing the street, but out in the world, doing their thing.

When those children become dependant on a substance it twists their brain into believing anything the drug tells them to.

As with everything addiction spreads it’s volcanic ash onto; this dynamic quickly evolves back into nagging mother- disobedient child.

My mom used to always say:

“Never argue with a drunk”

It was all funny until now. 30 some years later, trying to convince my 34-year-old son -35 in 4 days- that his thinking is thwarted. As a nurse, I should know better. Alzheimer’s patients can’t be told they are unsafe to be alone- they think YOU’RE the crazy one. I swear that’s how my son acts. Of course, that is a form of gaslighting in addiction.

Banyan Treatment Center ( I have no affiliation or recommendation) Describes it this way:

"While gaslighting can occur in relationships involving addicts, it does not mean the individual is evil or doesn’t care about others. Addiction has the potential to completely twist a person’s mind until it’s only focused on getting high. This disease is characterized by an inability to control one's use of drugs or alcohol and the uncontrollable desire for these substances. A person who’s suffering from this disease may have trouble with various things in addition to gaslighting. Most people with substance use disorders will go to great lengths to sustain their habits."

That’s all. Once you understand that the hijacked brain will do ANYTHING to get what it needs, you can begin to not take it personally and see the person as extremely ill. Of course, you can’t throw that at them either or it will start a new defense mode/crazy-making conversation.

Good advice from a mom in CA:

  1. Do not try to rationalize with a drug brain, you will never win. You would make more progress by beating your head against the wall.
  2. Do not state the obvious, you need a job, you will never amount to anything, you are throwing your life away, etc. remember job equals money equals drugs. Get them clean first then the job will come.
  3. When the addict tries to pick a fight and tell you every wrong thing you ever did, do not respond and most importantly DO NOT BELIEVE IT. It is what I call the drug game, pick a fight, say bad things, you respond, it escalates, they get angry and leave, they use more drugs. I used to sing songs in my head or just stare at her blankly like she was speaking a foreign language, or say I know what you are trying to do and you can’t hurt me or suck me in, they stop real fast when you do not play. If I thought I was going to be provoked, I would wipe my hand across my mouth and that motion kept me quiet.
  4. If they use the child as manipulation, take the power back by calling CPS or serve them with guardian papers. It stops them cold in their tracks.
  5. If they yell at you on the phone, tell them you love them and when they can stop yelling call back, then hang up.
  6. Do not be guilted into giving them money for food. The hard, cold truth is addicts rarely need food. Just tell yourself if they can get money for drugs, they can get money for food.
  7. Addicts smell fear or weakness and take advantage of it. look them straight in the eye, never look away, never show fear. They know your biggest fear is that you think you are a bad Mom. Tell them when you knew better you did better and now you know better.
  8. Do not make threats you do not intend to keep. Do not say I am going to kick you out if you do not mean it.
  9. Really listen to them. Let them talk without judgement. Tell them they can tell you anything and you will still love them no matter how horrible it is. Let them know you no longer intend to fight. You plan to change the paradigm because what you were doing didn’t work.
  10. End every conversation with, I love you no matter what. You never know when it will be your last conversation.

A common theme among moms here GUILT — that we’ve somehow contributed to this horrible situation. While responses like “didn’t cause it, can’t control it, can’t cure it” are true, a deeper understanding of “false guilt” was helpful to me. Our enemy uses false guilt so effectively on us!


From Focus on the Family:

False guilt has nothing to do with what’s true and accurate, nor is it related to true repentance. Rather, it is usually the fear of disapproval in disguise, and this problem especially hounds people who have a hyperactive or malfunctioning conscience. This problem can be especially hard to decipher among Christians, who take matters of conscience seriously and who might be prone to find reasons to feel guilt where there are none.

This tricky emotion puts us on the hamster wheel of life, a never-ending treadmill of uncertainty. There is no pleasing this task master because there is always another chore to fulfill, another person to try very hard to please—even when pleasing her is sinful. People driven by false guilt often feel that they have to go through life perfectly so that they can avoid criticism and disappointing others. A quick look at the life of Christ proves otherwise: He was perfect and yet Jew and Gentle alike still plotted His murder.

False Evidence Appearing Real
If false guilt were a chariot, then fear of disapproval from others is the whip upon the back of the horses pulling it. A very helpful acronym for this kind of fear is: False Evidence Appearing Real. Fear often has us imagining the worst possible outcome to a problem when in reality the outcome is rarely as bad as fear tells us it’s going to be. Fear is often a liar.

False guilt consumes our thinking while awake and asleep, and creates in our lives both spiritual and psychological cataracts, stopping us from seeing our relationships with God, others and ourselves clearly. Through false guilt, we lie to and bare false witness against ourselves. It’s still a sin. We judge ourselves inaccurately and always too harshly. We become like the Pharisees whom Jesus chastised and corrected with the strongest language throughout his ministry (Matt. 23). Like the Pharisees, who represented false and abusive religion, false guilt is also abusive. It puts heavy burdens upon our backs, burdens we were never intended to shoulder. False guilt is self-abuse.People who suffer from false guilt nearly always have difficulty being truthful with how they think, feel and act. They have great difficulty giving others Vitamin N–telling people “no.” Charles Spurgeon, British Reformed Baptist preacher and author, recognized how important this fact is in a person’s spiritual growth when he told his students, “Learn how to say ‘no.’ It will do you more good than learning Latin.”

Tragic Optimisim
Compare the misery from false guilt to the beneficial nature of healthy guilt, or what Christian counselors sometimes call godly sorrow. Victor Frankl, founder of Logotherapy, one of the most muscular and real-world attempts to make sense of life’s suffering (Frankl was a Holocaust survivor), praised guilt as one of three components that make the case for what he called “Tragic Optimism.” He said that the tragic triad of life are pain, guilt and death. Yet if handled properly, they can spur a person toward abiding meaning and purpose in life. Through guilt, he wrote, people have the potential to change for the better. Healthy guilt is a gatekeeper and boundary-maker. It helps us discover where we shouldn’t go in life, what we shouldn’t do. And it helps us make amends when we do cause others pain and related hardships. Guilt helps us find our way back toward what’s right and repair the torn portions of our lives.

Someone who was once very close to me was also a sociopath, one of those rare souls who are incapable of feeling guilt and remorse. What was astounding about this woman was her inability to express empathy toward others—especially those who she abused. Today she is miserable, alone and sometimes homeless. By looking at guilt’s opposite, we see how valuable healthy guilt is to maintaining the virtue of empathy and common decency. Without guilt, we would be counted among the most despised and wretched people. Thankfully, we feel guilt toward others because we understand that our actions somehow depleted another’s God-given value and dignity. We should treat each other well, and guilt reminds us when we don’t, helping us to avoid sin, the result of which is death in various forms.

For relief and healing, we need to put our guilty feelings under the microscope of our sober minds and see if they are real or counterfeit. One of the best ways to do this is to quiet our minds, close our eyes, breathe deeply, then ask ourselves, “Am I really guilty of what I’m telling myself, or is this another case of false evidence appearing real?” As one who has been hindered by false guilt, this exercise has been invaluable to me…….”- Paul Coughlin

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Arachnophobia

Life lessons from the pool

This is the conversation I just heard at the pool:

“Honey come get this dead spider out of the water, HURRY! OMG!!!! It’s alive!!! How can that be? Get it! Wait how is that even a thing?? How can it be ALIVE in the water? OMG it’s MORE than NOT dead! it’s booking it! Hurry! How Is that possible??”

To which the guy said:

Chill, Quit screeching.. You’re gonna be ok….”

You're gonna be ok. 

I tell myself this all the time. Do I believe it?

Spiders are a bit scary, I admit, but when facing more insurmountable problems in life, they are fiddlesticks. What used to scare me, I look at with a mild curiosity at the power it once held on me.

Remember that being afraid of something is not the same thing as having a specific phobia. In order to receive a diagnosis for a specific phobia, certain criteria must be met, including disruption to acts of daily living and a decrease in your quality of life due to the intensity of the fear.

Verywellmind.com

“A decrease in quality of life, due to the intensity of fear..”

Interesting.

These days, my challenge is getting through the day without overwhelming fear taking over. Loving an addict is like seeing a spider 🕷️ every second of every day but you can’t swat at it. It’s as if you’re stuck in it’s tangled web trying to save yourself while it’s just doing it’s own thing to survive.

I think it’s important to not “breathe that fear onto them- like the lady at the pool breathed her fear onto everyone there.

There are many treatments for arachnophobia and other fears, including “Exposure Therapy”.

Basically flooding the brain- usually slowly- with thoughts of the thing you fear the most. We mommas already do our own exposure therapy. We live and breathe the possible outcomes every day. This is called ‘over thinking’ or ‘catastrophic thinking’

Here’s some tips to help with that, not necessarily geared toward substance use.

Another way is to learn to trust a higher power. Trust in something or someone that doesn’t have all the emotions attached to it, like we do.

As Libby Cataldi, one of my fellow mommas-in-hope, stated:

“It’s difficult for our suffering loved ones to carry our anxieties, as well as their own. When they are in the throes of their addiction, they are struggling with obsession, shame, and the chase of the drug. When they are in early recovery, they face countless fears daily – how to get a job, how to pay rent, and how to go the next day without drugs. Today, I’ll try to bolster my serenity and breathe hope into my loved one”.

Libby Cataldi
Breathe hope, not fear.

I’ve found that when I talk to my son in fear mode, it just creates defensiveness on his part. He’s a debater at heart, so imagine with such a monster of substance use added on, he wins the argument every time, EVEN if he’s wrong.

Proverbs 31 Ministries

We’ve all heard the saying, “Do you want to be right or be happy?”. With our addicted loved ones, it’s so easy to tell them what to do with their life so that WE can feel better. But that kind of compliance ( if we even get compliance) doesn’t last. Connections last…..

Keep the connection, lose the fear.
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LoSe BIG

What are you truly scared of?

I see it all the time.

People acting the way they do strictly out of ғᴇᴀʀ.

Think about it. Would there be ĂŃŶ office politics if people were not fearful for their job?

Would there be ĂŃŶ fights in relationshipd if people were not fearful of LOSS?

Would there be ĂŃŶ addicted gamblers if they were not fearful of being βŘØҜ€?

I swear everything that anyone does is out of fear of losing something. Either their identity (which they have attached to their job, their relationship or their material things) or their lifestyle.

I’m not a psychologist but I believe most things come down to those 2 things. (But I am a mom AND a nurse sooooooo…..)

Let’s look at those 2 things.

Identity: Who am I?

Who am without this mask? Literal mask and invisible mask.

Am I just the sum of my parts? My achievements, if you will…My title, my riches, my awards on the wall? All those things are representative of power and prestige in our society. Of course, we have to have goals. We can’t just live in a tent singing kumbaya can we?

It all depends on where you are in life.

While raising my kids, I yearned & searched for bigger and better things to achieve my goals of organization. If only my house was bigger, my car newer (because of course then it wouldn’t be messy) or if only my kids had nice cubby’s to organize their backpacks and shoes then they would for sure organize their backpacks and shoes.

Now, that I’m old🧓 I want peace, simplicity, order, beauty. I definitely don’t want a big house to spend all my time cleaning. I don’t want cubbys or a huge washroom for more and more clothes to spend more & more time washing.

So wherever you’re at in your journey there are different things you want. If you want to move up the ladder at work you will do almost anything to appear competent, resourceful and productive. If you want to be seen as the good mom, you will do almost anything to  a͆p͆p͆e͆a͆r͆ as if…..

Now I do understand, not every good mom wants to fulfill her ego and post perfect family photos so that she’ll get lots of likes and comments of what a beautiful family she has and what a great mom she is. Some just WANT all that. Regardless of what others think or say.

But regardless of the endorphins that flood our system to help us feel good, we all have root (core) emotions we need. I believe that it all comes down to safety.

We want to feel safe.

What? A worldwide virus in is coming? My family needs toilet paper to feel safe.

A mask will keep us safe? I want a mask. (Don’t worry, I’m not going there- but I kinda sorta did Here)

Having our house organized with this or that helps us feel safe. Having a food supply helps us feel safe. So many things that advertisers KNOW will appeal to our sense of safety via our ego. “If my hair is soft and thick and healthy looking them I will appear healthy and strong and on the ball. That will make me feel good which makes me feel safe in my world)

If you have ever listened to Abraham Hicks  you know that A̳l̳l̳ you have to do to feel good and HAVE good is get into the “zone” so you can then get into “vortex” to receive everything you ever wanted.

The way to get into the zone is to deny ANY negative thoughts and focus on what you want rather than “what is”.

So if you’re sitting there with your head in your hands staring at your empty back account sick to death with worry of money, you will get more empty back accounts and more stomach pains and more worry, which then takes you “out of alignment” so you bring on more bad luck. Such as a car wreck or illness.  Her theory has been around for ages that you must feel good to receive good. It’s basically the law of attraction redone, with The Secret going back to 1937  Napoleon Hill & Helen Blavatsky a Russian occultist in 1875.

Ancient hindu art depicting reincarnation

But why then do people who lose everything make a huge comeback sometimes? There are plenty of videos set to music to show these famous and not so famous people who have done that. I think it’s because of Gary V.’s quote at the top. Yes I’m quoting Gary V despite not liking his language he used to spout off & his empty long videos. Now he’s getting into more short and sweet motivational shartzz – I like to call them -such as This and This one too.

All I’m saying is, when you lose your job that you can’t imagine ever losing and you survived it; and you lose your dream business you built up – like my son; you lose your beautiful home that was your pillar image of your success; and you still survived, then you come away with a deep power and strength inside u that nothing can break you. This means that worrying that someone won’t like you or like your work, becomes a non issue. Engaging in drama doesn’t appeal to you because you have nothing to prove.

Divorce used to be the scariest, baddest word I knew, but after surviving it, I don’t fear being alone anymore. Does this make us insensitive and hardened to the vulnerabilities of life? Not if we don’t let it.

I think it makes us a better person because we don’t attach our identify to a specific job, title, person, or area to live in or our annual income.

We know we can find happiness anywhere. Money and power make life easier in alot of ways, but they make it alot more complicated too.

I haven’t read The Tethered Soul in a few years but it’s the best example I can think of – of how money didn’t matter to him- before he had it and again after he had it.

Don’t be afraid of losing everything- you just may find yourself.

hαppψ †hαηκšgï∀ïηg 2020

Uncategorized

4 years ago

Four years ago on Election day. ☑️🗳️☑️  YOU were the one who taught me to care about truth and standing up 4🇺🇲 AMERICA🇺🇲 YOU are the one who explained to me until 2am how evil works..🦹How it entices by promises shiney💎 things with slick talk and comforting words. With fake promises and easy political tag lines🧹🧙🕷️YOU were the perfect example, the passionate 🏇Messenger of all things life.

You, my first born son, were / are one of the most influential people to ANYone who’s ever met you.. With your knowledge, your humor….So it makes sense that you were attacked hard….🤺 You have been completely knocked down over and over.⚔️🤺by an evil demon who made you his slave. I have feared this demon for years. Feared his power and his bravado that he stole my son from his life, his family, his business.

But today there’s a new fear in my life. The fear of change. Today the world may never be the same. Life as we know it may slowly erode into a new, more compliant, less choice, more homegenized, less character.🇩🇪🛡️🇩🇪A new experience for sure. One that might test our very foundations of history and will affect our children for years to come…..For the first time since learning of your addiction, I am scared of something else…. I miss you son……🗣️🦜🗣️🦜🗣️🦜🗣️