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5 Mantras that kept me sane during Charles’ addiction

When I was losing it and started to make myself crazy by projecting all kinds of scenarios that had not happened, I would pull out my phone and read my mantras out loud to myself. I picked these up from others and from the literature in Families Anonymous meetings over the years.

1. Enabling, rescuing or weaving a safety net blocks recovery

Figuring out what “enabling” is can be complicated. So whatever we had defined it at that time is what I went with. It was simply important not to default to rescue mode.

If he wrecked the car, he needed to go without a car. Replacing what he destroyed immediately would not allow him to learn from consequences and earn it back. If we allow those who suffer from addiction to never meet the consequences, we are not helping, we are hurting.

2. Being uncomfortable can be an incentive to change

Sometimes those with substance use disorder need to suffer discomfort before finding recovery. That can mean loving and letting go which can be very hard to watch but we can’t do the same thing over and over and expect a different result. This goes for us, too. We have to shift and change, too. Like any other serious illness, it affects the whole family.

3. Mistakes, acting out and relapses are opportunities to learn

This one was one of the hardest. Because we know it’s a serious illness that can result in death. There is real fear with relapse. However, it is part of the illness and just know that the rates of relapse with SUD are similar to rates of relapse with other chronic diseases like hypertension, asthma, or type I diabetes.

4. Their journey is not your journey

I probably said this one the most. We can’t live someone else’s life or steer their ship no matter how much we want to.

5. Withdrawal of love is rarely a good strategy

I don’t think this works and it feels inhuman.  That’s not to say that a husband who is an alcoholic and physically abusive should be lead to believe your love is unconditional.

What I mean is simply using withdrawal of your love as a punishment can often make matters worse. Those who suffer addiction already feel shame and unworthiness. That’s why I believe letting them know we love them is important.

Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked TEDx speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my younger son, Charles to substance use disorder and suicide on June 5, 2015. I help people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide, reduce substance misuse and find life after loss. My motivational, training and workshop topics include suicide prevention, addiction, mental illness, coping strategies/resilience, and grief. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory. Professional Speaker Website. Trained in ASIST and trainer for the evidence-based 4-hour training for everyone called safeTALK.

6 thoughts on “5 Mantras that kept me sane during Charles’ addiction”

  1. Thank you, thank you for these suggestions. As a mother watching your child, it’s SO hard to not rush in and try to fix it, just like when they were little. I will carry these with me and also share it with my family who wants to help and my friends who find themselves in the same position as I am.

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