10 October 2013 at 10:34 am #1585velvetModerator
I hope you have the most wonderful weekend doing San-things that gave you pleasure.
Knowing you can cope when you are strong is an important message for you to understand. I think it must be true of us all that we cope better when we are feeling strong.
It is the weaker times that you need to protect against and you now understand better when those are. Your health obviously has a large part to play and I wonder if maybe your partner could be the lead person at these times, he will know when they are. ‘Your mother is not well enough to cope at the moment’ could be the type of reply your son requires.
I think sometimes we can be weak when we feel good too – maybe more likely to give way because our lives are on an even keel and we want to share the feeling. This is a dangerous area and I think the time to give yourself a stern reminder of what happened before. Because you feel good does not mean that giving into his demands will make him feel better – he will give an instant cry of thanks and then use your kindness to hurt himself further.
His cycle will continue until he either cannot sustain his addiction or he opens his eyes and seeks support. Your cycle on the other hand is not madly freewheeling as it did and that is great. Once it slows down enough you can get off even though you will not forget he is your son.
Hope to speak soon
V20 October 2013 at 8:25 am #1586
right this minute i am sticking two fingers up to the addiction. I want some peace in my life. I want to be able to sleep at night. I want to have my finances kept safe. I want to enjoy time with my partner/friends without another addiction drama. I want to protect my own mental and physical health. I’ve learnt about the addiction, I’ve learnt my enabling helps no one, not him not me. I’ve learnt it divides families – boy has it done that to mine. I’ve learnt I can’t help him. I can keep giving him information to get help. I can support him not the addiction. Right this minute I don’t want anything to do with him, right this minute I’ve had enough. I am sick to death of it all, I don’t want anything to do with gambling, addiction, the dramas etc etc and I am taking time out. It’s pushed me too far this time.20 October 2013 at 9:56 am #1587
I have read your post and want to reach out to support you. I hope it has helped you to write down those strong feelings and that you have found some sense of relief, but also strength and resolve within you.
It can be very hard living with this horrible addiction, even when you are physically at some distance. I applaud your defiance as expressed in this post. You are right – enabling helps no one, not even your son and, yes, you can support HIM, but not the addiction. Sometimes it is hard to get the two things clearly separated in our minds and actions, but you have learned a lot and are stronger and wiser now.
Continue to look after yourself, build your own life and share it with those who make it better for you. Keep hoping for your son’s complete change of mind and heart, which is the only way he can make progress now, but don’t let him spoil your life – this is what you are stating and we will be right with you.
All good wishes,
Monique20 October 2013 at 11:16 am #1588
your support is invaluable and very timely. I just can’t do this anymore, it’s dragging me down with it. I like your line ‘share it with those who make it better for you’. Sometimes I wonder who this is! I’ve been through so much ‘other stuff’ this year, faced death in the face, I need some closure. So this morning I’ve said to my cg I only want to talk to him if its nothing to do with money, gambling, having no money for food, rent etc. If he starts I will end the conversation. I cannot put myself through this anymore, so space from him is what I need and this time I am going to listen to myself for a change. I’m not sure what is harder, leaving a partner/husband or leaving a son/family member. Luckily I have always been of the mind that children are ‘not yours’, you give birth to them and then teach them tools for life and then you let them go. I didn’t have children to bring up on my own and without any support but that’s what has happened. I have done the best I could, I honestly believe that :). I’m rambling time for a coffee and I have a canvas that is calling me to put some paint on it! It’s been calling me for a long time but some stupid addiction has been getting my time and energy. So for now I’m signing off. Thanks again Monique, take care xx20 October 2013 at 1:13 pm #1589
Painting – that is a great idea. Stay with it and enjoy the colour, self-expression – whatever it is that gives you real pleasure. I am not a painter, but I have friends who are creating beauty and finding their own space through this art-form. I like to write and have joined a little writing group; I also do some dancing, go to a poetry group and a French group (I studied French to degree level years ago and this group is allowing me and others of similar knowledge to brush up our sometimes ‘rusty’ language skills!). I don’t know what you have available to you in your home area, but getting really involved with people who share your interests can be a good way to ‘actively fill your mind’ with things other than the problems of addiction. Obviously, don’t overdo it! – you need to look after yourself, as you have not been well and you have a busier work-life than I have, I think. But do allow yourself to ‘get lost’ in something really enjoyable.
Who are the people that can make things better for you? – I can’t say who these people are in your life. Sometimes, they are people you know you can trust and talk to about difficulties, with the assurance of their acceptance and care. Sometimes, they may be people who are just good to be with – maybe you don’t confide in them about difficulties, but you feel better being in their company and sharing other positive things. It’s all worth thinking about anyway.
I like your description of children as ‘not yours’ (or ‘not ours’), but people to whom you give birth, bring up as well as you can in your circumstances, then ‘let go’. I have had to learn that gradually – not just because of my son with his addiction, but also with my daughter, whose work keeps her in other parts of the world, far away and sometimes out of touch. Well, I’m still learning …
with continuing good wishes,
Monique21 October 2013 at 9:06 am #1590berberParticipant
Thanks San and Monique, that you keep writing and venting. It helps to read your posts and love how you are taking up activities for YOU. I loved dancing, have not done so in forever and I feel the urge to start painting (probably not very good at it) and you know what? I am going to just DO IT. This week I will buy paint and find out where I can take dancing classes. Thanks again, have a wonderful week! XXX Berber22 October 2013 at 4:35 pm #1591velvetModerator
I loved the guts and verve in your ‘two fingers’ post but I also sense the belief that you think that what you want will always be just beyond you.
You are right that you are doing everything you can to support your son and not his addiction but I know you want more.
I don’t think we can, or should, waste our energy comparing separating from partners/husbands to separating from son/daughter/father but I do know there is a difference. I also believe we do not own our children and from everything you have ever written I know you have done everything you could for all your children. My son told me that there was nothing I could have done that would have changed the way it was/is for him – nothing I had said, thought, acted on would have made a scrap of difference. After much soul-searching I believe this to be true because he is the only one who held the answers that no one else could give with such conviction..
Confused by his active addiction your son cannot give you the closure you want but you can have small closures along the way such as knowing that you have given him the seeds to plant and told him where they will grow when he is ready. You have acted as the most loving mother and now it is down to him.
There can never be complete closure for us,or our sons; they will always be compulsive gamblers so it is important to look for the light bulb moments, that make a difference to us, on your way. It is important to look at your other children, your partner and your friends. It is important to look after your health for your own sake and all who love you.
I cannot give you what you want to hear most but I can repeat again that I would not be here if I did not ‘know’ that the addiction to gamble can be controlled.
I know you son is younger than mine was when he changed his life but I am sure your awareness and your determination to find out all you can about what is hurting him and why, will keep you in good stead until he is ready. I did enable and I am sure my ignorance contributed to the length of time it took for him to change. Keep those two fingers held high to the addiction; you are standing shoulder to shoulder with your son when you do it, not against him.
I am sure we will talk again soon
You are allowing him the space to find his way, that is not leaving him.
V23 October 2013 at 3:29 pm #1592
I thought it might be an idea for me to keep a record of Non-enablement days to help me keep strong. If I can record my feelings and actions this I think would help me to stay on the right track, so here goes.
Day One – I will call yesterday Day One as this is the first contact with my cg asking for money and my reply of ‘No.’ He asked me quite late on, asking if I would buy him some food (I can order and pay for a takeaway online). I said, ‘No sorry, I am tired and now going to bed’. I turned off the computer and my telephone and breathe a huge sigh. This morning there was a reply of ‘Oh wow … :(‘. I felt okay that I had got through that one.
Day Two – today. Another request for a small amount of money to buy toilet paper, food and tobacco. I had a very small amount of his money left so told him that amount I could send him but not what he wanted. He says he has an upset stomach and no toilet paper. I tell him to shower, drink water and go to the doctors if he is really ill. IF its true, I do feel sorry for him but I can’t be sure. I must not buckle to the ‘mother’s guilt’. Still some hours of this day to go, but remaining strong.23 October 2013 at 4:36 pm #1593
Good idea posting the Non-enablement days! This could work well with Velvet’s suggestion of having notes handy for your “non-enabling” responses to your cg’s requests for money, accusations, etc. You could write those things on index cards and keep them in an envelope in your purse or wherever they would be convenient. And you can print your NonE posts and cut them out and paste them to index cards. Anything that will give you the strength to say NO.
I hope to see many many more of these Non-enablement posts from you – I know it is so difficult for you. I really think this is a great idea and I believe the reinforcement will help you to repeat the non-enablement!
Adele23 October 2013 at 5:20 pm #1594
Thank you for your continuing support. For me, it will be important to get through each day as it progresses. I have had lots of ideas on how to reply to him and I will be calling on these to help me through.
Thank you for writing about the chat logs earlier. It really helped to go through our group last night. At the time, there is alot of good advice, but it is so easy to miss it at the time. It was good to go through the chat log for last night.
Have you done/will you be doing anything for yourself today? I went into a clothes shop today and checked out a new top for myself for when I get paid at the weekend :). I am 99% sure I will buy it. When you enable a cg your money does not go on yourself – just in case anyone reading this, thinks that’s a strange thing lol. I also went to the butcher’s today and bought a hedgehog for tea (a chicken breast with mozzarella cheese encased in pastry in the shape of a hedgehog!) instead of a supermarket bargain piece of meat. Go me, eh? Why should the bookies/betting office have my hard earned cash? Time to live a little with my wonderful partner. Tomorrow I am going to work on my painting.
I would like to apologise for my awful English too, I am learning French and the two languages and use of grammar get very muddled up :P. We call it Fronglais here.
Hope to see you in group again.
San x25 October 2013 at 6:01 am #1595
It was so good to see you and Berber in the chat room Tuesday. I always feel enriched after a group session. And I agree: Sometimes I don’t absorb everything that’s said, or miss something completely, so I’ve always copied and saved my chats. I really like this new site feature where it keeps a chat log for you. I’ve been trying to make Tuesday and Thursday groups regularly, but Wednesday group is at 5am for me! (I’m kinda grumpy that early – ha) I hope more of our F&Fs start coming back around soon.
I am very impressed that you are learning French … such a beautiful language. Are you teaching yourself or using a program? I would like to learn Spanish for practical purposes because so many of our Hispanic population here do not speak English. It’s hard to imagine me with my prominent Texan accent speaking Spanish …
So… I think you absolutely, 100%, should buy that new blouse for yourself, then go strut your stuff with your sweet partner. You so deserve it San – you really do. You deserve that, and the hedgehog thing, your painting and so much more. What you don’t deserve is that 1% uncertainty. And the bookies certainly don’t deserve another cent of yours! Yes m’am YOU GO GIRL!
See you in group soon.
Adele25 October 2013 at 6:11 pm #1596
Day 3 … It was all about food! Incessant demands for food. In the end I turned my phone off and told him I would not be blackmailed. Finally got some sleep.
Day 4 – He’s upped the stakes today. Says he’s gone to the dodgy people for money because I WOULD NOT GIVE HIM SOME FOOD! So now the dodgy people want their money back and I am not sending it, so I am now having texts to say he has a knife to his throat and he has been punched and he doesn’t want me to feel guilty if something happens to him tonight, so send him some money.
Now the logic in me tells me not to believe a word and if he was in real danger he would call the police or let me call the police. The mother in me wants to feed him and protect him from bullies. This is the internal fight within me but I feel pleased that I have come to this conclusion and worked out why I haven’t been able to stop enablement before. This nurturing mother instinct is very very strong and fights with the logic. I feel unusually calm at the moment. We will see what tomorrow brings. Signing off for now ….25 October 2013 at 7:35 pm #1597
It’s hard to hear what you’ve been dealing with every day, but it sounds like you are more aware now. I understand that calmness you’re feeling. When I first felt that way after refusing to enable (at a time I would previously have been frantic and anxious and felt I had no choice but to enable), I remember thinking “I think I’m finally getting it!”. It didn’t change the outcome of whatever the situation was, but it was so cathartic to change the way I reacted.
No matter what else, you have done well on this my friend, and I know it was hard.
Allow me to repeat something Velvet said to recently ..
“Keep those two fingers held high to the addiction; you are standing shoulder to shoulder with your son when you do it, not against him.”
Adele25 October 2013 at 8:49 pm #1598
for your continuing support. I’m sticking those fingers up very hard. He is continuing to ask for money and telling me he is going to die very soon because he has to pay this man back. If it’s true I’m going to feel very guilty. If it’s a ploy to get my money I’m feeling disgusted at how low he is stooping. I’m confused. I’m feeling emotionally abused but I am not sending him anything. If it’s battle of the wills, try having cancer and you’ll find out how strong I am!! I’ve turned him off now, he can’t contact me.
Hope you are doing well Adele, your thread on the counselling was fascinating. Interestingly my cg says he gambles because he is lonely too, that came out tonight. I wonder how many others there are out there where loneliness plays a part. Take care. san x25 October 2013 at 9:53 pm #1599
Hi again San.
I admire your strength and determination and I think you are doing really well. I agree so much that the caring mother part of you/us always feels the conflict and it can be very painful. But the knowledge you have gained is helping you to make the best decisions you can in this context. Yes, your son needs to be cared for, but his addiction needs to be ‘starved’ – funny that I used that word, when he is pressurising you for food! Your son must not starve, but the addiction should be starved. And your son will not starve – experience seems to show that the addict can be very resilient and get what they need to survive. Even the ones who seem so fragile to the mums and others who love them.
Keep on looking after YOU. A strong Mum is the best one your son could have, even if he does not appreciate that just now. Have a good weekend.
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