I'm not sure anymore if I'm clinically depressed or just responding normally to grossly abnormal situations. I have no friends left because I just can't muster the energy to pretend that life is dandy. Should I try harder or just continue to lay low and not stress about it? One of my neighbors has an "open house" every Friday for everyone in the community, which turns into a big gossip fest and bragging session after everyone's had a few glasses of wine. I live between one couple who's son is a professor at Carnegie Melon and another who's son is a professor at Yale. (If there is something in the water around here my spigot must be broke). This is a community of high achievers and the success stories about everyone's kids abound. I have not participated in any of these little gatherings for the last year and a half and my husband thinks it makes us look unfriendly, that we should just show up, be polite, gag down a few nachos and act neighborly. It makes sense but last time I participated I felt exhausted afterward from the effort required in trying to keep up appearances (of normality). Should I give it another try or just pass? I don't really care anymore what any of my neighbors think, but I do want to make my husband happy. I was wondering also if it is theraputic for me to try to reconnect with the world, I'm very isolated but have no interest in this group of people I have little in common with. I'm curious about your opinions.
Oh, I so know what you mean. I felt just like you do and still do sometimes, but I finally was able to move back into "community" after reading something in a book by Barbara Johnson. She had been through loss and pain that was unbelievable and she really didn't want to be with anyone or at one point even live anymore. She sometimes answered their "and how are you doing questions" with a very real answer, not to be mean, but so she didn't have to make her way through the conversation. It was something like, 'well, my two sons are still both dead, my husband is still recovering and my other son is still living out there in a real bad situation and I haven't heard from him for 2 years'. Anyway, she made me realize I needed to quit side stepping the truth when people asked and without being heavy just be honest. It freed me from that urge to just stay home so I didn't have to deal with dodging people's questions. There are still times when I simply don't want to go out, but not nearly as often. Barbara Johnson is a Christian author who writes some pretty funny stuff. Maybe something she has written could give you some hope and make you smile.
Hello Lori, Hello All, I have noticed this same problem with myself. Chuck and I just don't go into certain social engagements any longer as I can no longer talk about my son dying and my daughter now on meth and maybe also dying. Someone I know who I have had many conversations with through the years (she's bright) I haven't called in 6 months. The last talk we had I heard how oh so damn well her 3 grown kids were doing. I am close to Julie in Vegas and Lee here...Both have kids that are addicted. And of couse I relate to all of you on the forum and am thankful. I do manage to write out some of my fears and depressions. I even say something funny sometimes. I'm naturally funny . Love making people laugh. Love, Deb
I have a hard time not isolating. Small steps seem to help- forcing myself to call an old friend, dropping by a neighbor's graduation party for just an hour, etc. It often helps if there is some sort of defined activity such as watching a sporting event on TV as opposed to a dinner party where there's lots of conversation. It's hard to hear a lot of chatter about people's kids & their successes.
At a Nar-anon meeting we got into a discussion about shame - seems to be a big issue especially for parents of addicts. One of the dads said that when acquaintances asked about this addict son, he was non-committal- said something like, "He's still trying to figure things out." With true friends he was more open. Some people don't get it but I found that for the most part people don't really pry and we can just move on to another topic.
I think it is important to spend some time around other people- even if it's just sitting at church or watching a movie. Just the human contact can be helpful. These social occasions are different than Al-anon or Nar-anon meetings- those are where I find I can be really open.
Hi Lori, I can relate to your feelings so well. Remember I have two kids with serious problems. So it's been really difficult having to answer questions at family reunions about my kids whereabouts. The oldest child in and out of rehab and the baby of the family on her own doing meth and possibly escorting. My husband has been struggling with feelings of failure from family and friends and for a while refused to attend any events. We now attend mainly family functions and when asked, I just say, continue praying for them, God knows the details. Which is absolutely true! The worst is when I'm with my teacher friends and they begin to gossip about a student who's in some kind of trouble and label the kid's parents as bad and neglectful. My other social functions are mainly with church friends where I feel ok. Lori, if you feel that you don't belong with a group who gossips and brags, than attend only special functions like a "block party" or for a special holiday. I don't think you should put yourself in a painful or uncomfortable situation, it's not worth it. If you attend AlAnon, find a group of friends there. I just recently joined a women's weekly "Big Book" study with both AA and AlAnon gals. I feel so comfortable there and totally in my element.
I wish I had a dollar for every time I found myself apologizing for having an addicted child and quickly following that information with inappropriate statements about my children doing well to make sure the person I was talking to knew it wasn't just my fault. I grew up with a family who only knew how to blame others for crap that just sometimes happens. My dear baby sister just got done telling me that her kids would never have drug problems because she listens to them and talks to them about the dangers of drugs. ( My progress is to not slap up-side the head and remind her that EVERY parent with an addict kid has probably had those conversations.) Isolation and shame were my best friends for a while. People felt obliged to ask...I felt obliged to be honest and that only made us all uncomfortable. A very dear friend - much farther along in this process than I reminded me that most people ask how your child is doing because they feel they should. She also reminded me it's perfectly fine to respond with "That is personal and painful and one day I may feel like sharing the details, but for now, lets talk about something else." Once I learned to forgive myself for having a child who chose drugs, it all became easier. I still choose friends carefully, and spend less time than I did with casual friends. That seems to be working for now.
thank you for this "That is personal and painful and one day I may feel like sharing the details, but for now, lets talk about something else." Once I learned to forgive myself for having a child who chose drugs, it all became easier. I still choose friends carefully, and spend less time than I did with casual friends."
It is very isolating. I am not that interested in accumulating another group of surfacy friendships that will just evaporate in the face of tough times. I have already lived through that and watched the friendships scatter like cockroaches in the face of addiction. My advice: Get a dog, they are much more loyal and helpful than most humans. And hold out for people you can be real with.
My sister and brother blame my daughter's addiction on my parenting and lack of Jesus. I am not sure how this logic holds up since I have met several addicts who grew up in strict, religious right, evangelical homes.
They feel comfortable facebooking my daughter ( the addict) that she needs to accept Jesus. They haven't spent five minutes with her since addiction, but they feel completely comfortable making all these assumptions about her and her beliefs. It's annoying. It hurts. I am contemplating a new puppy.
Hello tc...Hello All..tc, my mother-in-law from hell said to me a few months ago.....Debbie, Do you pray like I do? I meditate. Is that a form of praying? I am spiritual, interested in souls. Think of animals and plants as having souls. I'm going through a spiritual healing now so I can survive this living hell I've been in. Studying right-brain thinking also. My mother-in-law, the true wicked witch of the west hates animals, just finished dumping mother and kittens in an apartment complex. This "fine" Christian woman thinks Jesus will take care of everything, nevermind that she has two drug addict sons not working, a grandaughter also on drugs, a daughter who's cronic alcoholic and looks as if she has liver cancer,,Think about a group of ostriches with their heads in the hot Arizona sand and their tail feathers skyward...that's my husbands family. Their favorite conversation topic is how I don't cook, how husband "Chuckie" may get germs and die because the dogs sleep in our bed and how I'm not into Jesus. Tc, tell your relatives to worry about their own misguided souls. My friend in Vegas, Lee has a daughter who is on meth and now is a Jesus freak also and claims her mother needs to believe in Jesus more. She has the bible with her day and night, reads nothing else. Lord, help us! Love. Deb
I know that you probably meant it in jest, but I did just get a dog. I lost my 3rd of 3 that I had this October and I just rescued another (Boston terrier, same breed as my 3rd)and I get so much comfort and company from her. It was so empty here between October and May and now I've got a great friend that is always happy to see me and crawls up in my lap and kisses me when I cry! There's a lot to be said for having a dog.
Lori I think your feelings are completely normal! Do not beat yourself up because you can't stomach all the comparing and bragging. I have tried to find safe places to socialize and avoid the places that are uncomfortable. I figure that I will know when (or if) the time is right to re-connect. Be true to yourself and your feelings. I have found some new activities and friends who do not know about our struggles - thereby avoiding the questions about my son. I also have a couple of close friends that I can "dump" on and who know enough to let me take the lead. I love TC's advice - get a dog! YOU are special! You ARE NOT your addict and your life does NOT have be defined by the shame that seems almost unavoidable as the parent of an addict. Take care of yourself!
Good Morning All, I'm here in my computer room. So quiet, pup at my feet, have coffee with that French Vanilla creamer that's maybe bad for me. I have found that with most people I don't care to talk about my kids. I'm sure I am branded as a "bad" parent by many. I think my sister thinks that but doesn't say. She and I mainly talk about our health and dogs. She lives in Maryland, wants me to visit. I have so many in terrible health here that I have this feeling everyday that there will be a phone call about death on my side or Chuck's side.It's like waiting for the other shoe to fall so to speak. Our dog, Lucy Sue graduated from obedience school and was the most improved. Wish I had a sticker stating that to put on my car's bumper. Ha Ha. Hugs all around. Deb
I am someone who tends to wear my heart on my sleeve. I tend to be very open, although I do have boundaries. I have found that my honesty about our struggles means that sometimes people share stories of their struggles, or people in their lives who have battled addictions. So I don't hide my sons problems but I don't share them with everyone either. But people I know well know what is going on. Collegues at work know what is going on.I have found it helps with the isolation to have people let me know they care about me and how i am doing. At this point I now say, he is not doing great, but I have done all I can and it is now up to him. The one thing I do avoid is events where there are likely to be a lot of parents with seniors... I just can't stomach all the talk about what college is so and so going to. I feel so sad. But my son had issues before drugs were in the picture so i was never all that close to those parents anyway.... my friends are more likely to have kids my daughters age because she is doing well and they don't worry about what kind of influence she will be.