I had it backwards.

With the understanding that addiction is a disease and the realization that we are powerless over it as well as over people's lives, we are ready to do something useful and constructive with our own.

Then, and only then can we be of any help to others.

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I had it backwards.

Post by Ronni » Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:55 am

My RAS spent years dodging the various consequences of his addiction ... warrants, jail time, probation, bill collectors, friends he owed money to....it just never stopped. And I spent years "helping" him, becuase I felt that dealing with these things were just simply beyond him. And factually, in his drugged out state, they were, because he just didn't care, it didn't matter, it was too much to deal with, all he could focus on was where he was going to get more drugs. That's something that took me a long long time to wrap my wits around, where his focus was. Living the life I expected him to live, that most folks live...going to work, paying bills, taking care of a family if you're married, maintaining a car and insurance, being responsible for all those things...all of those responsibilities, that kind of life, was simply an annoyance, an impediment, just something he had to step around in order to pursue the most important thing in his life--his drug use. That was his focus. That's where his attention was.

See, I had it backwards. I figured he was using because he was just overwhelmed with life, and the drugs were easing that overwhelm for him, so if I could "help" him get his life under control, then he wouldn't worry and then could get and stay sober.

Nope, WRONG! He was using because he WANTED to, because he made the CHOICE TO, because he chose drugs as his priority rather than being responsible for his life. Until he made the CHOICE to get and stay sober, his life was going to continue to spiral out of control and all my "help" was wasted. He was choosing drugs instead of life. He had to get to the point where he chose life instead of drugs. It IS an either/or proposition. Can't have both. Drugs will wreck a life. So it became simple. Life had to trump drugs for him and until that happened, until he made that choice, his life was going to continue to spiral out of control and he'd be ignoring the consequences that continued to happen and kept piling up.

He's been sober for 3 years now jft. I'm proud of the work he's done. He's proving himself to be completely capable of handling the many consequences of his addiction, consequences which, in my former arrogance, I felt were just simply beyond him. He's voluntarily been back to jail 3 separate times, having turned himself in to deal with the charges and warrants. He is managing two different probations in two different counties, is going back to court later this month to deal with the final warrant and may end up in jail from it. He's working 50+ hours a week most weeks so that he can pay off the fines and other restitution in order to be able to get his license reinstated, meanwhile he's walking or bussing or getting rides from friends to get where he needs to go and just refuses to drive anywhere because he's not legal.

I never thought he'd get here, honestly. But part of him arriving at where he is now is that *I* just hat to get out of his way! That's a difficult thing for me to realize...that all my unending and hyper-focused efforts to "help" acted instead as actual barriers to his recovery. That's pretty sad, y'know? I just didn't get it. I had it backwards. I figured my "help" would help him stop using. Nope. He had to choose to stop using so he could help himself!
My son's addiction is something that happened TO HIM. It is NOT something he did TO ME.

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Re: I had it backwards.

Post by lovingwife64 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:36 am

Thank you for sharing.

When I started seeing signs my AH was using, I too thought if I gave him things to make him happy, took care of the stress of day to day life and was the wife he always wanted it would keep him from using. Nope. All it did was put that stress on me. He had it made. It's one of the hardest things to understand when you love an addict.

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Re: I had it backwards.

Post by jac » Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:47 am

Isn't it wonderful when you have these light bulb moments. I have had many
over the years and continue to have them. My son has been clean (I don't say
sober because clean is clean, no mild altering substances) for 8-1/2 years. He
is living the life he chooses and I am just an embellishment to that life. I am
not the center of it and I no longer try to run it. I work very hard at living my
life also. Not always easy, I am still a mother.

Love your posts, Ronni. Thank you for sharing.

With love,
"You don’t think your way into a new kind of living. You live your way into a new kind of thinking." - Henri Nouwen

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Re: I had it backwards.

Post by vscook » Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:10 am

TYFS. I am working hard to get out of the way. My AD is not working her recovery yet, but I am no longer "helping". She knows where to go when she is ready. In the meantime, I am working on ME.
Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift, that's why it's called the present.

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Re: I had it backwards.

Post by RaggedyAnn » Fri Oct 06, 2017 3:24 pm

I found this on my work intranet 'Prayer for the Day' yesterday:
(Author Unknown)

" The freedom of choice never included freedom from the consequences of our choices....

Unfortunately, some choose to blame others for the life choices they themselves have made......

They then struggle from deep within themselves, utterly confused and lost when they are ALONE with absolutely noone there to catch them when they fall. "
“I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much.”
— Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

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Re: I had it backwards.

Post by hope1 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 4:45 pm

Thank you for sharing that. Such a simple concept yet so so difficult to grasp and implement.

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Re: I had it backwards.

Post by Knappster » Fri Oct 06, 2017 5:34 pm


You wrote my life story, I did all those things you mentioned in the beginning. I have to wait and see what the outcome will be in a few months when my son is released from custody. There is always hope! Thank you for sharing!

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Re: I had it backwards.

Post by flash » Sat Oct 07, 2017 6:49 am

Ronni - Also could have been me writing this.
Protecting, fixing, smiling, saying it would all be alright.
I'll make it better so you have no excuse or need to use Son.
When we know better we do better.
Love ya,

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Re: I had it backwards.

Post by EMPTY » Sat Oct 07, 2017 11:09 am


I have been here for years, but never have I read
a more poignant share. You truly schooled the
new comer and the ones that need reminding. Your
loving share is truly an inspiration to me and I am
sure others.

Thank you so much. Love Maddy

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Re: I had it backwards.

Post by slm219 » Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:52 pm

Hi Ronni -

TYFS this.....yep, I could of written that first half for sure. My biggest fear these days.....my AS has been at this for a long long time and Im really not sure if he is aware anymore that he does have a choice. I sure hope so.

Thank you for this inspirational share......and YAY for your son!!!!! So good to read...
Even a small star shines in the darkness.

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Re: I had it backwards.

Post by heretostay » Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:46 am

Awesome share. I never looked at it that way with my AH. I always kept telling myself it was his stress for his present and past life. Now I am looking at it that it is his choice. He wants to use.

This share was a God wink...something I needed to hear.

Thank you Ronnie.

Listen to learn and share to heal.
"Virtue is measured by struggles not by prizes" Anonymous

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Re: I had it backwards.

Post by hopefulNE » Tue Oct 17, 2017 1:09 am

Much to be said for getting out of their way.
"Keep Calm and Carry On" - British Ministry of Information, WWII

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Re: I had it backwards.

Post by Claytonmomof2 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:11 pm

This post was so impactful for me. Thank you for sharing this. I'm new to this support system, but have gotten so much out of it thus far. What a great reminder that I hope to implement in my situation. I'm an analyst, a fixer upper, a problem solver....I must know why so I can figure out how to solve has always been my philosophy. Unfortunately addiction doesn't work like that. I'm learning it's more of a "wait and see" and pray kind of style. There's nothing I can do that will fix his situation, and although I know that it's not truly what he wants or needs to be doing - he needs to come to that realization on his own. That's SO incredibly difficult to swallow. He's in the midst of causing mass destruction to not only himself but those around him. It's especially difficult when it rips apart your family, your household, everything that means so much to you...but it's his choice. :cry:

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Re: I had it backwards.

Post by Patricia » Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:59 pm

This all makes total sense to me. I always said my addicted brother had life upside down and backwards! And he really did/does. It is all about where to get the needed drugs. Unfortunately, I understand that now about my dear AD. Posts like yours do make me hopeful she may decide to change her life at some point. Thank you for your post(s).

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Re: I had it backwards.

Post by Rhonda » Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:49 pm

Great and timely share. Thank you. I came to the forum looking for an answer and it was right there. I got a call from my AD who is hating life in her current sober living house situation. I was feeling fear she'd turn to heroin to relieve stress of her life. But a tiny quiet part of me thought she was using it as an excuse to use. It's so hard to know how and when I can help.

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