Learning To Let Go
The first time I heard that phrase was from my own sponsor. My son, Max, was homeless and living on anyone’s couch who would have him. He was using pain pills and alcohol to numb his pain both physical and emotional. He was not working. Out of money, friends, and pain pills he asked me if he could come back home until he got back on his feet. I chose to process this with my sponsor and take a different action. I had always opened the doors to my home and heart only to have both trampled on by his addictions.
Struggling To Detach
My sponsor listened and then carefully chose each word she spoke to me. “Max has been given the gift of desperation. Be careful or you may rob him of this gift. If he is to make any changes, it will be because he accepts what his addiction has done to his life.” I knew she was correct, but my mother’s heart wanted my son off the streets and in a safe bed with people who loved him. That is the irony and heartache of addiction. To get better he would need to be alone with his disease. It was an incredibly hard struggle, but I didn’t allow Max to come back home. I didn’t give him a lecture or even advice, I told him I loved him and believed he would figure this out on his own.
He was angry that his sad tale wasn’t enough to manipulate me as it had always done in the past.
The emotional energy it took me to stand my ground can only be described as out of body. I believe my Higher Power gave me what I did not possess. I was able to let Max deal with his gift of desperation.
When Max realized he was out of options, he went to an AA meeting and listened for the first time. His life didn’t turn around immediately, but slowly his choices gave him better results. I worked my program and allowed him to learn from his. By allowing Max room to explore what worked for him was my way of honoring him.
Sharing My Strength, Hope, Experience
I sit in the rooms of Al-Anon week after week and listen to parents struggle like me as their beautiful child is slowly taken over by an invisible disease of addiction. When these frantic parents want to jump in and save the day, I quietly whisper, “Your child has been given the gift of desperation.”
A Reach Out Recovery Exclusive By:Madeline Schloop
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