Reality check

Coping with the loss of a loved one.
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Angelikoula
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Reality check

Post by Angelikoula » Wed Jan 04, 2017 9:03 pm

It's been 2 months since my daughter died from a drug overdose and I've come a long way, but I feel like I'm also stuck in limbo - my grief counselor and other professionals tell me that I will be stuck in limbo for the rest of my life because for the most part you never really get over this kind of grief and the loss of a child or loved one due to substance abuse.

I've also been doing a lot of thinking about Nar-Anon and the concepts of it. The program can work and it does for many people, but what it doesn't help with is to understand that relapses do happen and that sometimes the addict dies.. and then what? There is zero support or help when that happens and I think there should be. The truth is in the posts here .. nobody posts here because this program doesn't work for grieving people.

I'm disappointed that I tried to work the program SO bad for my own recovery that I regret not being more emotionally involved with my daughter. TOO much emphasis is being put on not enabling the addict and disengaging and you know what? I regret that now .. I should have been a bit more engaged and involved in my daughters life. She had an illness and I shut her down. It's a contradiction because when someone is ill you HELP them with their illness - you're supposed to love and support them .. not detach and disengage and turn your phone off and ignore them.

My recovery continues, but now it's laden with guilt and grief and sadness .. I'm wondering what I could have done to HELP my daughter .. not ignore and and leave her on her own. So when I read the other board here about people being proud of themselves because they have shut their ILL loved one out I seriously feel like barfing, because if I could go back one year from now I would have done things differently. Yes, I would have taken care of myself but I would have been a bit more conscious about my daughter and not been so selfish. Nowhere in the steps does it say to shut the door on your loved ones, yet that is what is encouraged all the time .. it's just not right..

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flash
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Re: Reality check

Post by flash » Wed Jan 04, 2017 9:50 pm

Angela - I know saying sorry doesn't really mean anything.
You are right that someone that hasn't lost a child can't comprehend the pain you feel.
I don't think this program has taught me to disengage with my son but it did help me to realize that my life mattered too.
I also don't think there's anyone here that wouldn't agree that this disease sucks. Completely sucks. Just like cancer sucks, addiction sucks.
Any fatal / chronic disease sucks.
I have a close friend who lost her daughter to this disease and she lived under their roof and they hovered over her.
They did everything, everyday, and they never stopped trying to figure out how they could help her and fix her and she still died.
There was nothing else they could have done. Now they blame themselves for enabling her too much and doing too much for her.
I would imagine it's hard to avoid guilt but I hope through counseling and support you can alleviate that a little.
I also hope you find the support that helps you to realize that your aren;t alone because you aren't. My friend reluctantly started going to a support group and it has been helpful to her.
Prayers being sent your way for you and your family.
Love, Donna

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endoftheroad
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Re: Reality check

Post by endoftheroad » Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:07 am

I am so so sorry that you have gone through the death of your lovely child and no, I don't know what it is like, but yes, I live with the reality that my addicted son could overdose and die any minute.
I have seen him only 3x in the last almost 3 years, but not because I haven't tried to find him, help him or locate him. He simply does not want to be found and I know that he is not Missing.
I was not an enabler, but I did do everything I could to help him get the help he needed for his disease. Unlike others, I did not lose myself in the fight, I simply came to grips with the fact that I was not the answer to his recovery. I think that is what this program has given me, was that an addict will not get help, find recovery, stay clean unless they want to! And there is plenty of help for them out there and almost all of them know where that help is and how to get it!
I can say that I miss very much interacting with him everyday whether he was loaded or in recovery. He is and always has been an easy guy to be around. But, I have learned to stay away, because the disease has progressed and he is not himself. I cannot change that.
You are right that we are not equipped to help grieving people for the most part. I have read of many great grief groups and that is where I will turn when it is necessary.
I can say that I urge people to take control over their lives because I know that I am powerless over addiction, that we all are powerless over their recovery. And many people who enter the rooms become very sick trying to help their ALO's. They need help taking back their lives. But each has the freedom to live life on their own terms. Take what you want and leave the rest.
I pray for your peace. I pray that you will be able to step forward and share your strength someday. Much love, Susan
This is the easier softer way.....

MarieW
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Re: Reality check

Post by MarieW » Thu Jan 05, 2017 1:21 am

I am so sorry for your loss. I have not suffered the loss of a child, but we did lose my nephew a couple of years ago. He died in his bedroom next door to his parents. They were in denial about the extent of his alcoholism, which eventually killed him.

A woman in my meeting lost her son after fighting for years to get and keep him in treatment, starting with wilderness camp when he was 16 and ending when he overdosed when he was 23. All of these parents tried in various ways to help their kids, and yet they still died. Just as you can get the very best cancer treatment for your child, and they can still die.

At NA meetings, I often hear from addicts that it would not have mattered what their parents did, they would not get clean until then were ready.

I don't know why such horrible things happen to good people. Death is the big fear when you live with someone with a substance abuse problem. And you start making decisions based on this idea that you can protect them from death. That you have power over life and death. We worry that they will die of an overdose, or in a car accident driving drunk, or because of a medical condition brought on by their behaviors. And it’s a risk. But every day brings the risk that it will be our last. My cousin, who was only a few years older than me, died of the flu. My daughter commutes every day. Life is risk.

My brother and his wife are, of course, devastated by the loss of their son. But life does go on. I know there were days my sister-in-law couldn’t get out of bed, but most days they both get up and go to work. They go out, see friends. They spend time with their older son and their new grandson. They live. And I have other friends who have lost their children to disease or accidents. And their lives go on, too.

Please stay with us and let us help you.
The only wrong way to work this program is to not work it.

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DianeB
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Re: Reality check

Post by DianeB » Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:13 pm

I can hear your second guessing your actions.

I understand what you are feeling.

I also had to come to the point where I understood what it was that I was
comfortable doing to enable and/or help. It was about my own principles.

This took me years to understand. Not months. Not days.

I wasn't comfortable in giving him money, but I would have him home for
some respite, a good meal, a warm bed, a hug and lots of love. I might
even put gas in his car. I welcomed the opportunity to do this as long
as he kept the drugs and chaos out. What I couldn't do and have said
many times was I would not put the nail in his coffin. I would not
participate in his death.

I also learned that disengaging and/or detachment was more of an
emotional issue for me, rather than a physical distance. There were
times that I couldn't deal with the pain, hurt, drama and chaos. It
was more than I could bear. I would tell him but also tell him how
much he was loved.

I truly believe that each of us knows the eventuality of death for an
addict whose drug use is left unchecked. We know of death. It is
the ultimate outcome. I held on to not enabling and detachment for
a good amount of time as a miracle cure. If I did this, he would come
to his senses. But that didn't work. I had to flip it to my own emotional
needs not on a presumed outcome for my son.

As to not having time with our loved ones. Yes, it is cut short with drug
use. We don't want to think of that. When my son found recovery
several years ago, I thought my miracle had happened.

He is now clean and sober. He is working hard to mend relations with his
family. He is doing what he needs to do by doing the next right thing.

He is also dying. Years of drug use and unchecked diabetes have left him
with a heart attack, continuing heart conditions requiring 4 stents and much
medication. He is now in Stage 4 renal failure. Facing dialysis, transplant
and/or death.

So I have to ask myself, did I do enough? Did I do the right things? Could I
have done things differently? My answer, which I found through many years in
this program is Yes. I did enough. I did the right things based on what I knew
to do at the time.

As I began to understand more about addiction, relapse and death and my part
in it, I began to change. I could have done different things, but I doubt sincerely that
it would have made any difference. Just as now with my son, I cannot change
his course, I can only love him.

But, reality also says......it doesn't matter. I am powerless over life and death.
And, yes, I loved him enough. As did you with your daughter.

I pray that you find peace in knowing that none of this is your fault. None of
this is something you could have prevented.
Hugs....

with Love

DianeB



“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” - Charles Darwin

http://nar-anon.org

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TrishaB
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Re: Reality check

Post by TrishaB » Thu Jan 05, 2017 3:37 pm

Angelikoula wrote:It's been 2 months since my daughter died from a drug overdose and I've come a long way, but I feel like I'm also stuck in limbo - my grief counselor and other professionals tell me that I will be stuck in limbo for the rest of my life because for the most part you never really get over this kind of grief and the loss of a child or loved one due to substance abuse.

I've also been doing a lot of thinking about Nar-Anon and the concepts of it. The program can work and it does for many people, but what it doesn't help with is to understand that relapses do happen and that sometimes the addict dies.. and then what? There is zero support or help when that happens and I think there should be. The truth is in the posts here .. nobody posts here because this program doesn't work for grieving people.

I'm disappointed that I tried to work the program SO bad for my own recovery that I regret not being more emotionally involved with my daughter. TOO much emphasis is being put on not enabling the addict and disengaging and you know what? I regret that now .. I should have been a bit more engaged and involved in my daughters life. She had an illness and I shut her down. It's a contradiction because when someone is ill you HELP them with their illness - you're supposed to love and support them .. not detach and disengage and turn your phone off and ignore them.

My recovery continues, but now it's laden with guilt and grief and sadness .. I'm wondering what I could have done to HELP my daughter .. not ignore and and leave her on her own. So when I read the other board here about people being proud of themselves because they have shut their ILL loved one out I seriously feel like barfing, because if I could go back one year from now I would have done things differently. Yes, I would have taken care of myself but I would have been a bit more conscious about my daughter and not been so selfish. Nowhere in the steps does it say to shut the door on your loved ones, yet that is what is encouraged all the time .. it's just not right..
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and feelings..

I am sorry for your loss.hugs
Last edited by TrishaB on Tue Aug 15, 2017 6:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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grateful
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Re: Reality check

Post by grateful » Thu Jan 05, 2017 9:11 pm

(((A))) I do understand the loss of a child. I lost two. Not in the exact same way as you have but they did die. All the hopes and dreams I had for them - for me - gone. I, too, went over all the choices I had made and all the resources I had utilized and "if only" appeared many times in my mind.

I've also turned all my decisions over and over again in my head when it comes to both my kids now and true the program doesn't help with everything and yet it does help with grief because we ARE grieving - at least I know I am. I know I have been for a long, long time now. I've simply had to learn how to live with it or in spite of it, I'm just not sure which.

When my son was hit by a car - all his potential was gone for a decent life. With or without the drugs and alcohol, it was gone. It wasn't his fault, his Dad's fault, my fault. It just happened because some crazy kid in a car ran him down. The pain and grief was so deep for me I couldn't even talk about it. To date I can't even remember the name of the kid who did run him down. My mind keeps blocking it out. Normally fearless, after this experience, I grew fearful of anything with wheels. Getting in the car of somebody I've never ridden with, riding in planes, driving or riding in the snow are terror producing things for me. The actual accident happened 25 years ago and I am still limping through life with the effect of that experience on me and the knowledge my son is never going to get better. It grieves me, too, that he cannot live with me. That I cannot take away his pain or rekindle the dead brain cells or remove his other issues from his life.

My daughter has her issues which affect me as well and I live with the fear of her dying early, too.

Can the program help me with all this? Can it take away all the grief or the tragedies that have occurred and probably will occur - No. 1000 times no.

And yet, what the program can help me with and has helped me with is the knowledge that I am not alone. It has helped me with the knowledge that I can still live life to the best of my understanding with as much enjoyment and happiness I can muster. It has helped me with knowing that living life on life's terms sometimes is only do-able one day at a time, one minute at a time, one moment at a time and it can be done in the company of others who are living the same difficulties and challenges and sometimes losses as I am.

I had to come to terms one day with what is truth about this program though I was madder then an old wet hen about it: The program does not promise us that our kids will live or our spouses or our parents or our lovers or our best friends. It does not promise us that whatever changes we make will spur our loved ones on to victory in recovery. For many years, I did what the program suggested for me but I was also doing it to change my kid. I had to let go of that belief because after awhile I saw what was true: There was absolutely NOTHING I could do or not do that would affect him positively or keep him alive. I did not have that power. I didn't shut him out because he was sick. I said "no" to violence, drugs, people who used drugs and the criminal activity that accompanies all that in my home and in my life. I could not in all good conscience accept what is and should be unacceptable. My son was and is sick. This is all true. The grief I feel about it all is also true. In many ways, he is already gone and I grieve that, too. But it isn't me who made him sick or brain damaged or hurting. It isn't me who will make him well.

None of my boundary setting was done with a hint of maliciousness or malice or bitterness or to punish him. I doubt you did anything like that with your daughter either. We did what we did because we loved them enough to try to give them some kind of chance to get help. For whatever reasons they have - they didn't or couldn't. I don't know which.

What I do know is that you are not alone in your grief. You are surrounded by people trying to make the best of what truly is a horrible situation for all of us - not just some of us. We are all grieving - some of us at different stages. And if we are open to it, we hold each others hearts in our hands and walk this lonely road together trying to be light bearers for each other come what may. We won't turn away from you because you are grieving. What we are now is what we were when you were making the choices you saw to make at the time - the best you could at the time - we are here for you. We are battered. We are bruised. We have suffered multiple losses. But we are also willing to accompany you on the road none of us would have chosen on our own but have to walk anyway. We are working to keep our heads up, our minds clear, our hearts open and our bodies healthy. That is what the program promises us. That is what we are working on. That is what many are accomplishing and will accomplish. I hope you stay with us or with others who you know are there for you. You are a light bearer, too.
Seek beauty

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ktoews
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Re: Reality check

Post by ktoews » Fri Jan 06, 2017 10:47 pm

Dear Angela,

I remember the morning clearly when I read your post that you lost you beloved daughter. I cried then as I do at this moment......I am truly very, very sorry. Your daughter did not deserve to die, you did not deserve to lose her, and you are right, this monster of a disease robbed you of precious time with her. I turned the computer off saying to my husband how very sad I was for you and that I cannot bear to read the sadness any longer. Living thru the experience of having my loved one with the active illness and vicariously experiencing others' sadness and heartaches simply became too much for me. Took a needed break from the site and spent much time reflecting, working on my own problems, and diving into my new job which is quite demanding. I've removed myself from posting and sometimes peek into the site, but not for long.

My son has been in a terrible state.....we live in an area that has experienced wicked cold for last several weeks.....he gets so drunk or stoned that he lost his jacket the other night. An intoxicated homeless individual died right on the street a week or so back. It's not enough for me to say that my son's HP will take care of him. When my son asked to come home the other night, I bought him a bus ticket.....I knew his old apartment was open and he could move in with welfare paying the rent. I said he could for one night.....I looked in at him while he slept and it felt good after months of his homelessness. I am not ashamed to say that I needed a break from the chaos as well and having him home to offer cleanliness, food, and love is as much for me as it is for him. I scoff at what some may be saying is co-dependency - my son and I simply love each other - as you loved your daughter. I am feeling the need to create some good memories with my son and plan to do this. I feel an urge to capture memories with some pictures.

There is no right or only way to be with our loved ones.

I commend your honesty and reminder to all of us to be kind, to let others feel comfortable with their love for their loved ones without labels or judgements. It's important that individuals are comfortable to do what they need for themselves in the relationships with the ones we love.

I am glad you feel comfortable here to share. Keep coming back; we all need each other.

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NeoMom
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Re: Reality check

Post by NeoMom » Sat Jan 07, 2017 11:25 am

Angela I am so sorry for your loss, and for the pain and sadness you feel.

I also commend your honesty.
Your message is important..

Hugs
"Embrace the glorious mess that you are" E.Gilbert

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Marianne
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Re: Reality check

Post by Marianne » Sat Jan 07, 2017 2:56 pm

Thank you for sharing. I also remember the morning I read your post about your precious daughter's passing to this horrific disease. I cried for you and your family.

I would like to share this with you. All three of my children live a distance from me. Because of the distance I am not able to see them often. I remember when I started working my program I realized I spent a lot of time worrying about my youngest Son and didn't worry about my other children. Over time I realized that anything could happen to any of them at any given time for which I would have no control over.

My oldest Son's fiance was in a head on car accident mid November two blocks from her home. She was in the hospital for close to two weeks. Was released on Thanksgiving. She broke her femur in her left leg and completely shattered her right ankle. She had three surgeries to repair and has been in a wheel chair since then with no weight bearing. She is 25 years old. It will take close to a year for a full recovery. We all struggled with her accident, grateful she survived but scared of what could have happened.

Six weeks later on December 20th my oldest Son called hysterical crying telling me that his fiance's sister was killed in a tragic car accident. She was hit head on and died instantly. She was three blocks from her house on a 25mph street. She was hit head on by someone going 70 to 80mph. She was killed instantly. She was 22 years old, had just finished college and starting her life. I felt completely numb when I found this out. The family was still struggling with their other daughters accident and now this. How one survived and one didn't. I can only imagine what their thoughts are.

Life is so fragile and we have no control of what our HP's plan is for us. They are a loving caring family and I am sure they are questioning Why Me. I read a post years ago that referred to when we ask Why me and the poster stated Why not Me. It spoke volumes to me about life and our lack of control of knowing why something happens to someone. The driver of the car that killed her walked away. Why not him, why her. I don't know. We don't know.

I think why did my Son seek recovery and why did someone's loved one not make it.

I don't understand the pain you are feeling, I can only imagine. I hope that you are able to accept that you did all you could and you had no control over the outcome. You received some great shares and I hope they give you some comfort. You are not a lone and I hope you find the support that works for you.

Prayers and Hugs,
Marianne
"Acceptance of what is does not mean liking it as it is." ~ Iyanla Van Zant

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nayr333
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Re: Reality check

Post by nayr333 » Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:32 pm

I think of you so often. I grieve with you.

I want to thank you for your bold share as I do agree with you on many levels.

Nar- Anon saved my life as I was a VERY sick woman when I arrived here .It helped me to grow as a human being but also gave me the courage to make my own decisions.

Along my journey I was so blessed to have a sponsor who lost her precious son to an overdose.
On my first night of step work with her, she wept and told me to DETACH but to NEVER ever forget the LOVE part. she told me to always tell my son how much I love him and for that message I will be forever grateful.

I had to ask my son to leave my home but never went a time without speaking to him. ( that doesn't mean this is the right way but it is what gave me peace )

My son also suffered from cancer when he was a young boy. one of his closest friends that we became so friendly with didn't make it.
I was taught then that God doesn't choose who makes it and who doesn't and that everyone of us has a purpose.

YOU have a purpose as I know in my heart you have just helped so many. Your precious daughter has a purpose too.

Drug addiction is a GOD awful disease. I know in my heart you suffer terribly and truly believe your daughter is at total peace until you see her again.

I appreciate your share and I will pray that you are led to the next place in your journey . if you are comfortable you can PM me and I could connect you with my friend who helps other parents who have lost their child.

Thank you for being a part of my journey. We are all in this together.

Love
Karen
Nothing changes if nothing changes, Let it begin with me.

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DesertFlower
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Re: Reality check

Post by DesertFlower » Thu Jan 12, 2017 11:01 pm

Dearest Angela,

I am so very sad and so very sorry for what you have experienced. I admire the total honesty in your post. Of course I cannot understand what you feel because as far as I know this minute my addict son is still alive. But in reality. I truly don't know if he has overdosed or been killed in some other way because he lives in a tent on the streets.

I remember my very first Naranon meeting, a face to face one. I was a blubbering mess. All I could cry out was that I was afraid he was going to die. I couldn't stop crying that night. One member said (and I remember it kind of flippantly) that other members have lost their addicted loved ones. That actually didn't help me in any way. I went there for comfort and caring and didn't really find it. I knew that if my AS did pass, they may not be the place or people in which to find that comfort. Yet I went back. The meeting grew and grew and most of the time was spent with people who sounded just like me in their first share. I'm not saying there wasn't good in that room--maybe I just exoected a little more compassion. Most members seems so 'fine' with the detachment with love idea. I wasn't so sure that was going to work with me.

It was my son and his continuing choices that helped me to see the idea they shared made sense. My son just made it nearly impossible for me to stay involved in his life. This does not say in any way that I do not love him any less. I try to stay in touch with him but that started to hurt when he didn't answer, for 2,3,4 months. That's when I started checking the police sites to see not if he'd been arrested, but if he was still alive. There was no other way that I could think of to think I knew. Yet everything I tried couldn't tell me. I thought, what do I do go to Los Angeles and check every tent? I think it's blue but don't know for sure.

If I got 'that' call now, I of course would be horrified, and after that, I don't know how I would feel.

My heart goes out to you and your family and I hope that day by day you get some respite from the deep sorrow you feel. I'm going to text my son when I'm done writing and tell him I love him, like I do quite often. If I don't get a reply at least I know I tried.

May you be comforted by your HP each moment of each day.
Love, Shauna
The only constant in life.... is change.

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hopefulNE
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Re: Reality check

Post by hopefulNE » Sat Jan 14, 2017 4:06 am

Angela,
So sorry for your pain.
Sometimes it is hard to draw the line between helping our ALOs in a supportive and healthy way, and enabling their addiction. We all just make the best decisions we can with what we know in the moment. Please be kind to yourself.
Thank you for staying and sharing.
(((Hugs)))
Pat
"Keep Calm and Carry On" - British Ministry of Information, WWII

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Ellablue
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Re: Reality check

Post by Ellablue » Sat Feb 11, 2017 6:57 pm

I have read and re-read your post several times because I always want to remember it. I pray for you. My sister recently lost her son and I took care of her for weeks until she could do simple things. In all my life, I have never seen such pain. I held it together for her for as long as she needed me to and then found myself in a puddle of grief and guilt that I barely climbed out of myself because I love him too.
I always tell my girls that if something ever happens to me that my love for them will fly through heavens gate to them. I believe your love still flows to your daughter and hers to you.
My daughter OD last year and was revived. I can only think of today.
I hope that these things havent been the wrong things to say or that I am just intruding on your grief. I just wanted you to know there is some random person out there who is thinking and praying for you and that I heard your message.
Ella
Ella

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Heartbroken
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Re: Reality check

Post by Heartbroken » Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:22 pm

Dear Angela,

Thank you for sharing during this time, I don't know you but I have read you posts and can feel your pain as a Mother who loved her daughter so much, I'm sure your daughter knew how much you loved her.

You are right there is a fine balance between detachment and abandonment, I'm really struggling to find it because I see people either really ill over their loved ones addiction and fully enabling or completely abandoning them as some of my family have done with my daughter.
Thank you for helping us parents that still have our sons and daughters out there in whatever state of addiction they're in, some perspective of what it feels like if the worst were to happen.

I pray that God eases your pain and gives you peace and the reassurance you will she her again.
ABA FATHER please hear my prayer, AHMEN

XOXO,
Carrie
What you can do or think you can do, begin it, for boldness has Magic Power and Genius in it !

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