Denial is part of the process

March 5, 2019

Shortly after finding out about our son's addiction to OxyContin, we sought out a NarAnon meeting to find answers.  He told us about the problem himself.  We knew he had been struggling in school.  His first semester of college went so well, but then it took a steep decline.  We thought he was just giving up, but it turned out to be much worse than that.

 

So we went to our first meeting at the church in town, and sat in little kindergarten chairs in the classroom at the back of the church.  We sat around a low table with other loved ones dealing with the stress of addiction.  This was over 10 years ago.  There were about 8 or 9 of us in the meeting, but only one other couple was there for their child at the time.  

 

We quickly found out that NarAnon didn't provide any of the answers we were seeking.  It was a terrible letdown.  I had come in good faith hoping for a solution to my son's problem, but all they were offering me was 12 steps to work on for my own life.  The desperation we felt was palpable.  And all we left the meeting with was a small blue book and some pamphlets.

 

And yet, I had felt some solace in just being there, so we continued to attend the meetings.  We talked about addiction, and we talked about our addicts, and we talked about ourselves.  We learned to become aware of our addict's manipulation that we hadn't even realized was happening.  We learned about our own enabling behaviors.  We cried.  Sometimes we laughed.  But mostly, we cried. 

 

For the first four years that I attended these meetings.  I was in denial that my son was actually an addict. He was very convincing when he told us he had stopped on his own.  He was charming, smart, articulate, funny, angry, and manipulative.  But he never did some of the things that other addict's loved ones described.  So in the back of my mind, I believed he wasn't really an addict.

 

One day around the four year mark, we found evidence of Suboxone in his room and some other indications of using. We had learned in the meetings not to go searching, but we were cleaning his room for him to come home from the hospital and discovered that he had not been clean, as he had said.  And that is when it hit me.  My son is an addict.

 

I bring up this story because of the fact that it took me four years.  It took four years of going to meetings for it to dawn on me that my son was truly an addict.  So be kind to yourself as you venture through this painful journey.  It may take you four days or four years.  But whatever you do, don't give up on yourself and your chances of finding happiness again.  Our personal story has a happy ending.  Not all stories from these meetings do, but the meetings make even the sad ones more bearable. You will learn to carry on.  I recommend anyone dealing with addiction in the family find and attend a meeting that works for them. 

 

Now I am an EFT practitioner and boy-oh-boy do I wish I knew then what I know now!  I would have been able to cut those four years down so fast using tapping.  I still would have attended the meetings, but the tapping would have made all the difference in my ability to find peace of mind and to give me strength to accept what was, and to make the best decisions for myself and ultimately for my son.

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