I never knew what a boundary was let alone how to put them into practice. But with the help of our family therapist, I began to learn how to lovingly yet firmly set boundaries, where my responsibility began and ended and how to let go. This process was a long time coming and came as the result of dealing with a son who had been abusing drugs since his teens.
The toll of his using for so many years, he was 28 by the time I sought treatment, was huge. I had lost who I was and had just been existing, anticipating the next disaster, constantly in a state of flight or fright. Liam came and went, but I always kept his room and took care of his needs, even though my husband didn’t think it was a good idea. I gave him money when he was broke, a safe place to sleep, hot meals when he was home.
I desperately wanted to save my son from his addictions and felt that maybe if I loved him more, gave him more, it would change and he would be able to put the drugs down. I knew in my heart how damaged and alone my son felt, even when he was angry or stood over me, I could see the scared and frightened boy inside. I did things I thought I would never do like scoring for him when he was in withdrawal, pulling out money from our holiday fund for him and lying to my husband.
My family therapist was able to explain to me why I did these things and that I wasn’t a bad person, that Liam wasn’t a bad person either, he was a sick person who needed help, just like me. Getting the support helped me to start to live again. I began to slowly get my life back and start to do things for myself, like seeing friends for coffee and getting back into my yoga. I stopped lying to my husband and told him everything.
For so long I was trapped in Liam’s addiction, drowning in the whitewater with him. With the help of my therapist, I no longer need to try and control what Liam does, I see that it is his journey and that I need to live my life. I’ve learned so much and have been able to put into practice all the practical strategies I’ve learned. As a result of my change in behaviour, Liam sought help as well and has stopped being so demanding and he is now learning to start to stand up on his own two feet.
I always thought Liam was the one with the problem and that he needed help not me. Therapy showed me that I was also behaving in really negative ways and that I had become so weighed down by my son’s addiction making me part of the problem. I no longer feel weighed down, and Liam had no choice but to look at himself once he saw the changes in me. Our house is much happier now and I have hope for the future. Peace has returned to our home and my usual state of feeling overwhelmed has transformed into a feeling of empowerment.
Thanks to the ASV team for all the support, you have made a positive difference to us all in our time of crisis.