October 3, 2017

Struggling to embrace a new level of trust

As I was leaving for my cross-country cycling trip, my son was in the process of entering a treatment program. After eight months clean, a minor relapse, and another round with an infection, he made a commitment, on his own, to enter a treatment program. While this was not the first time he would be entering one, this was the first time he made a concerted effort to get in.

The struggle is my battle with history and past experiences. With the past clearly in my memory bank, I am having trouble believing he is where he says he is, working a 30-day program which will transition to a 60-day IOP/sober living home, and is not deceiving us in the process. Based on past experiences with addiction, recovery, and treatment, rarely do events go as planned, committed or promised. Even though everything I have been exposed to indicates a new day has dawned, I find myself struggling to trust or believe anything is different. I am looking for, expecting the other shoe to drop and the alternative, actual truth to be exposed.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1 NIV)

Despite all my misgivings, my cynicism, my reluctance to believe in an alternative truth, my son desires I trust him. He provides all the necessary indicators for me to have faith in the journey he declares he is on. And, even though I want to believe, I am having a very hard time embracing it. I find myself seeking clues or looking for indicators that none of this is true.  Because, based on experience, this is what I expect.

My struggle is my sensitivity to the impact my attitude is having on the healing process for both of us. Not being able or willing to trust my son’s story isn’t being directly projected in our phone interactions; but, I am certain he senses my cautious attitude.  He can’t help but experience some of the distance I am creating around what he desires I know and believe about where he is. I cannot help but feel a sense of frustration in not being able to give him my trust, to have faith in him and his recovery journey.

I know what it is like to know when people are pulling back from me because they aren’t quite ready to trust or believe me. It hurts. In most cases, this reluctance doesn’t come from history; but, it comes from a lack of comfort or exposure. Even so, I know that feeling and I don’t want my son to experience it, especially if everything he is sharing is true.

Imagine experiencing a positive and incredible breakthrough in your life and having those you love most look at it with a jaded eye, just waiting for you to go back to your old ways.  I don’t want to be that dad.

As I share this with you, my prayer is for courage to trust the story my son is sharing with me. I pray for the ability to have faith in him and this journey he is asking me to be part of.  I pray for God’s strength to allow me to move into a different place with the confidence that even if things aren’t as they seem, I will have faith in God’s presence in all of this and in His plan for the journeys my son and I are both on.

I cannot see what is before me, but I know God does.  Faith is trusting in Him and what he doing our lives, not in me trying to figure out if what I think I see or fear is true.


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This blog’s podcast episode: http://theaddictionconversation.libsyn.com/the-battle-to-believe-in-good-news

I would love to hear from you.

What issues are confronting you today? Where are you currently experiencing fear and shame relating to the struggles in your life? I have some pretty cool tools to guide you and would love to help.  Please let me know: dave@100Pedals.com.

Addiction in the Family, featured, Parenting and Addiction, Uncategorized , , , , , , , ,
About Dave Cooke

Dave Cooke is a dad on a mission. His mission is to help parents get control of their lives over the powerful, destructive influences of a child's addiction. As the father of a son in a ten year heroin battle, Dave knows all to well the challenges parents and families face. He also knows there is a way to find peace in the chaos. It is his mission to help parents discover their path to a healthier, balanced life even if a child's active addiction is still part of their daily journey.

  1. I, myself, am going through the same thing. My son has been a heroin addict for 7 years, and abused just about everything else before then. I can’t count how many times he’s been in rehab, or the times he’s been to the ER for O.D.ing, or because he is withdrawing, etc. There are no facilities that will take him anymore. He goes through the program and then doesn’t follow through with counseling, meetings, etc. He’s been in jail, homeless, has lost custody of his son (who I am legal guardian for) and has literally drained my bank account to the point where I have had to re-finance my home so that I can support myself and his child. He has stolen everything I’ve ever had with any value Once time he had his drug dealers come to my home and he told them to take whatever they wanted so he could get his fix. They held a gun to his head and pistol whipped him. That still didn’t make his stop using. Then last December 15 he od’d and I had to do CPR on him until the paramedics got to my home. I’m 68 years old…. I’m worn out.

    The good news is that he is now on methadone, and seems to be doing pretty well on it. He has a job (actually 2 part-time jobs) and hangs out at my home a lot to be near his son. We are all he has – his only friends are drug addicts. He wants to live with us, but I just can’t let him! I pay for his apartment and his utilities. My goal is for him to make enough to pay for these things himself. He tells me he doesn’t like being alone and that it makes him want to use. Even after he started on the methadone he was still stealing jewelry from me to buy cocaine. I’d lock my bedroom door and he’d pick the lock to get to my jewelery box. I got to the point where I had to tell him that I wasn’t paying for his methadone, so he better figure out a way to pay for it himself. So he got on a program where the clinic pays for his dose, but he gets drug tested regularly and so he’s stopped doing the cocaine.

    But like you, I cannot bring myself to trust him. He’s always wanting praise for “doing so well”, and the subject of living with me comes up every week. I hate being a bitch about it, but he doesn’t get it.

    • Christine, you and your son have obviously been on quite a journey. My experiences are nowhere near that level. I am sorry this is part of your story. I can understand why there is a genuine reluctance to openly trust him. My only thought, is it possible to encourage him for positive steps when they occur. It doesn’t need to be praise, rather an acknowledgement of anything that presents itself as positive. At least, in that process, you are demonstrating to him you haven’t given up and recognize his productive efforts. Something to consider…

  2. Dave,
    I am walking where you are right now. I completely understand! My son has been sober, three months.
    But I think it is ok, that they have to earn our trust.
    We try to support our son. We told him, we would no longer, support and enable his addiction. But we would help him in his recovery. My son actually hit rock bottom, and then he made a decision, he no longer wanted to live like he was living.
    Our son has told us, he understands, he has to earn our trust.


  3. Christine,
    I totally understand, addiction is a family diease.
    When I stopped enabling my son, he hit rock bottom, and was homeless, and he knew he had no where to live, no money, no job! But we had told our son, we would not help him in his addiction, only in his recovery. When he had to sleep under a bridge one night. He finally said, I have had enough.
    He walked about 37 miles to get to his uncles, and His uncle bought our son home.
    Since he has been here 94 days, 94 days sober, he has completely changed. But he had to hit rock bottom, which in our eyes, our son had hit rock bottom and under the rock many times.
    But he hadn’t.
    My son has done many wrong things, he has stolen, been in jail, lost his business, lost his children.
    I knew when he truly started healing, that guilt would start. It has, it is hard to watch someone heal. But we know it is part of the process.
    My son is praying to God, for God’s guidance.

    • Teresa, thanks for sharing insights from your journey. Funny how outcomes would be, for us, the worst of situations and call for change, doesn’t always trigger for our children in the same way. This is one of the reasons I have stopped using the term “finding their bottom.” Rather than find their bottom, most people in long term recovery have a moment of clarity where they say “I am not living like this anymore.” Rarely is it one event or one episode or one outcome, instead it is a series of reflections and assessment where they say where I am is not where I want to be. And, it is so random and different for everyone, rarely is a bottom but a defining moment of clarity. Happy to hear your son is working on his recovery and he is actively engaging God in his process.

      • Dave,
        I was seating here thinking, how addiction affects each family and addict. It is not black and white.
        We really do not have answers, because everyone reacts different to stress. It is a day to day journey, it is one decision at a time. We don’t know what we will do in the next crisis with an addict. We know what we did last time.
        For me, God released me, from my son.
        I finally got angry and said this is enough.
        But everyone has to get their on their own.
        And another thing I never did, was think I had caused this by something I did or did not do while I was raising my son.
        People use oh I had a bad childhood, to make excuses for their bad choices.
        My childhood wasnt the best, but I have tried to make Godly choices!
        Our thoughts determine our actions and our actions determine our destiny!

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