Dealing with an addict is stressful, and even under the best of circumstances this time of year can be demanding. We talked about this some in Rosena's "I Am Shocked" topic, but I'd love to hear more on what you all do to take care of yourselves.
I saw an ad for a yoga place in my neighborhood that is offering a free week. I signed up for that, and then found out I could get a second week of classes for this cost of a yoga mat. So I am trying it for 2 weeks. I have been to 2 classes so far. I am not very flexible or coordinated but I decided not to let that bother me. The classes are challenging but it is amazing how relaxed I feel afterwards.
Mayabee, yoga is wonderfully soothing! I have found that when I am highly stressed it helps me calm down. However, lately I cannot seem to get myself down on the floor to do it! I was just telling Waterdance that my friend has added Eternal Artesian Water to her list of healthy behaviors. She says it is very beneficial to our health. I'm going to check it out at Whole Foods. Keep stretching, Ann
I started practicing Yoga 10 months ago and have been able to stop taking antidepressants. When my son relapsed in October and was sent to detention for 6 weeks I cried a lot of tears and I can't say that I was "happy" but I think the Yoga (and my faith) helped keep me calmer that I would have been otherwise. It really helps to relieve muscle tension and when we are in a stressful situation our muscles can be in knots. When muscles are relaxed that allows for better circulation and oxygenation of cells - it's all good! I recently located a studio where Yoga is practiced from a Christian perspective and I am considering looking into that.
Hello, I, myself have lots to learn and experience about physicial activity. I am walking on the treadmill, not for long yet. Have to get use to even doing it first. I like the idea of Yoga. I'll look into it.
One of the best things to happen to me was reading about right-brain thinking and putting this thinking into an everyday thing. It takes practice, but oh so rewarding. I've always thought a bit with my right brain without being aware of what it was.
Also I've found so great this past year was taking lots and lots of photographs with my digitial camera. I belong to to fanart review (cost just 6.95 a month) and I enjoy posting my good stuff and seeing all the interesting photographs of everyone else. This too is right-brain thinking and takes you out of yourself and into this wide fascinating world.
No matter what our kids do it's important to find our own lives again. Love, Deb
Yoga sounds like a fantastic idea. I pass by a place (next to my attorney's office so I've seen it a lot lately haha) and I've wondered about their classes. I may check it out. I found an elliptical machine out by the trash next door when the neighbors moved a few weeks ago and brought it inside my garage. works fine! I need to clean it up and get on it but I've been so busy unpacking and moving and painting I collapse into bed exhausted. I just LOVE my new place, its my first ever place of my very own. I've painted the kitchen, dining room and living room and its so fun to get my things from storage I haven't seen in a year and put them out/hang them up. I'm feeling so peaceful lately even though I know the chaos is gonna start back up very soon, I'm happy today.
Christmas is less than a week away and is crashing down all around me. Taking care of myself is a goal that seems untouchable at this moment. Just the simple act of a shower is more of a chore than I want to accomplish at this point. Energy is drained but yet I push forward in the morning, barely throwing myself together and facing the world. I have obligations to face that don't involve my addicts. I wonder if anyone around me sees me falling apart? If so...do they care or are they just afraid to approach me. If they don't notice, am I better at hiding this than I thought or are they just all so caught up in their own holiday chaos that they don't notice. I don't know, I just know I want this friday to come and go with the least amount of pain possible.
Remember when Kiah said "not all prisons have bars?",,,,last night I thought of this as I sat in the freezing cold weather by the pool in our community. I thought "there are worst things than freezing to death." Seriously, I sat there beneath the clear late night sky and felt frozen, but content! Then I took a good long walk around my very dark neighborhood. I felt safe and I felt content? I knew that my son had started his routine of running back to his addictions to numb himself, and I refused to listen, talk or look at him in this state. My heart simply cannot take another episode! I also knew that it was only Sunday and Christmas is not until Friday! Not sure what made me want to be outside? I remember thinking that I felt safer outside in the cold darkness than I did in the house waiting for more bad news! I think the fact that the holidays are here and he is not with his children brought intense inner pain and turmoil, anger, tears and of course the need to get numb. This time I had no words, no thoughts, absolutely nothing that I could say or do to soothe him. I had to soothe myself and I had to do it quick! So, I ran away from my own house for an hour. Does anyone else ever feel like running away? Ann
Ann, I think the decision to be outside and away from the oppressive stress you described in your home was a very powerful move. Perhaps a lesson to us all is that we are the most content and happiest when we are in control, even of a very small moment of our lives. THe hardest aspect for me of having an addicted son was having my actions and emotions going every which way based on my sons actions. I described it to one friend like being the ball in a pinball machine. Sometimes it's just nice to turn the game off and experience the emotional calm that we all need. I pray for your serenity this holiday... Laura
Ann, I still go and sit at the park and listen to the silence. I remember one Christmas sitting outside of someones house after driving around for some time. I parked in front of a home and watched through the window a father picking up his young child and tossing him above his shoulders watching the young boy laugh. I asked myself, "Is this how normal families celebrate Christmas?" I find silence very therapeutic.
Cindykay, thanks for sharing that little story with us. I thought I was the only one who gets in the car and just drives around to escape and gather my thoughts. Silence is golden when you're in the middle of a storm. Happy Holidays, Ann
Rosena, you have been in my thoughts throughout today. I am sorry that you are struggling so much with this holiday and I hope that things improve once the day is over. One day at a time is so much harder to practice than to preach. Some days, getting through this moment seems impossible, much less an entire week.
Thinking of all of you struggling with the holidays. Sometimes putting one foot in front of the other takes all our energy, especially this time of year.
Tonight is the longest night of the year- the winter solstice- but I try to take comfort that there will be more hours of daylight soon. For whatever reason the combination of more hours of darkness and the holidays makes me feel more down than usual, regardless of whatever is going on with my son.
Getting outside is a great idea and one I tend to forget about. I drive from my garage at home to a garage at work, and often I don't get outdoors at all. Sometimes just going out at night and looking at the stars for a while helps. It's good to get out of the house for a few minutes & escape whatever turmoil is going on, or just get away from the sound of television, the washing machine, etc. The quiet seems to help slow down racing thoughts and bring a few minutes of calm.
I am new to this forum. Just found it by chance. I am reeling, yet again, from the behaviour of my 16-yr-old son. I don't have the energy to go into the whole story now. A quick summary: diagnosis of ADHD, depression, anxiety, uses marijuana, used to cut, used to use narcotics, was suicidal, was arrested, was in a psychiatric ward, and on and on and on...
You mention in many posts that you are working on detaching. Please share... How are you working on this? My biggest dilemma over the past 4 years has been how to care, yet detach because I can't tolerate the severe emotional pain. You also mentioned reading about right-brained thinking. Do you have any book suggestions? Any suggestions/advice would be much appreciated.
P.s. I do have some professional support for my son and for the "family" for which I am very grateful. But each day is still a trial.
Feeling alone and overwhelmed up in cold Canada...
KerenOr, welcome! I am so glad you are here! Waterdance and many others here can probably give you better advice than I can, I'm still not there yet, but I'm trying. I just wanted you to know that you are not alone. Please come here, read, write and share, it is truly healing. Sometimes it may take a little while for someone to reply, but they will, and you will find wisdom, caring and a sisterhood here. Love, Ann
Your response means a lot to me (I know that sounds so cliche). I feel so "barricaded." My friends are sick of hearing about my son -- that is, the ones I do share with. Most don't know the whole story because I feel very judged by most of them. Just knowing there are people on this earth who will listen, with unconditional, unjudging understanding is very helpful and gratifying! Thanks again. Peace and love for the holidays and New Year
Dear KerenOr, I understand the feelings you have and it can be a very lonely place to be, so we need each other. Holidays especially can be difficult. This year I have experienced a wide range of emotions, so coming here helps. Everyone is pretty busy with family today and tomorrow, so please don't get discouraged if there are not many post. They will all pop in soon :o)I hope that your Christmas Eve and Day are good despite the sadness. Do you have plans? I'm staying home this year, so it's a little different than what I've done in the past. Ann
KerenOr - my son just turned 17. He first used pot at age 10. We found out he was using when he was 13 and got him into treatment right away. He has now been through 5 programs and is in court ordered supervision - drug court. He is on a tether and is one slip up away from boot camp. Last year he spent 13 weeks in Juvenile detention and 90 days in inpatient drug treatment. He has been clean for 3 months but 6 weeks of that time he was locked up and now he is home on a tether (which makes my life easier but is not the real world.). He says he is done with using but I really wonder and fear what will happen when the tether comes off. I don't have a sense that he "gets it" - that he realizes why we worry and don't trust him. This forum and Al-anon have been helpful for me in coping. The hard part is that this is a chronic problem that doesn't just go away.
Hello - It's been a long time since I've posted anything on this site, but I read everyone's posts quite frequently. I find this topic very interesting because I feel it's the one thing that we CAN control (taking care of ourselves). Everyday I remind myself to accept the things I can not change. Life is so beautiful,that I refuse to let a situation that I can not change ruin it for me. I've detached myself from my daughter and I truely feel that is the only way I can live a healthy life. I pray some day the relationship will be restored but in the meantime I do all kinds of things to make me feel alive and well and not bogged down by an addict.It does no good to worry about uncontrollable situations. Surround yourself with good people who you enjoy. I personally run a lot, it's an amazing stress reliever. I listen to music while doing this and it's so much more enjoyable. Pretty soon you start to feel really stong and are more able to deal with the negatives in a calm way. This might sound really simplistic but the power of exercise is amazing. By the way I'm over 50 so it really doesn't matter how old you are. If you can't run do something where you get your heart rate up for 20-30 min. Don't give up, what have you got to loose (except maybe a few pounds) Be strong and tell yourself everyday that you're too good to let someone destroy you.
All of your ideas are great. Ironically, I own a weight loss and personal training studio. Even though I do this daily with others, I cannot seem to motivate myself to get involved again. Zumba classes seem to be a great topic with women and are fun. Yoga and Pilates great for relaxation and stress. Hopefully the beginning of the year will bring changes with me. Sound familiar? It is pathetic I have all the tools and seem to "reward" myself by taking a break. Rosena, hang in there and know that some days you just have to go through the motions just to wake up the next day. I have realized by talking to others, society is great at putting on that holiday smile, but behind the closed doors, it is a very stressful and unhappy time of the year for most. I have come to the conclusion that Christmas is for the ages from 2-6. They love Santa and are happy playing with wrapping paper and boxes and don't care what they wear or if it is in style. They are the innocence of the world and a great stress reliever during this time of the year.
I like to do crafts, any kind of projects that are creative. I love wildlife photography and was getting pretty good at it til my world fell apart and all my energy was taken up by my addict son. Ann, many times I also feel a compelling desire to run away, physically separate from everything I am connected with in order to be free of all this insanity. I was thinking (fantasizing) about going to Africa for a six month long safari or something, just becoming engrossed in a world and culture completely new to me, redirect my entire consciousness away from the fear, panic and pain I live with. If I had the money I might actually do something like that but unfortunately it doesn't fit in with the family budget.
Hello KerenOr, My computer has been down almost a week. Right-brain thinking....go to the net to get you started and read all you can. There's lots of books out. Get the book "Emotional Resilience" by David Viscott. I'll gather what I can soon and list them. It will take a bit of doing as there are books everywhere. It's a matter of thinking differently so that you can regain your life no matter what your kids are doing. Otherwise their addictions will destroy you also. Thinking of you, Deb
I think it's so crucial for us to take care of ourselves--minds, bodies, and spirits. Three years ago, I was in Stage IV hypertension, largely because I was neglecting myself in a vain effort to heal my daughter. I started working out and this past year I ran my first half marathon. The best thing we can do is get on with our lives and not let our addicts, even if they are our children and we love them fiercely, take over. My daughter is happier too because she doesn't feel so responsible for my happiness and it has taken a lot of guilt from her. She is responsible for recovering from her addiction and I am responsible for not obsessing about her all the time. That was my part in the disease.
It sounds so simple but doing the little things that brought you happiness(before dealing with your addicted loved one). I cook.Just made sticky buns for the first time . They tasted great and that made me happy....the simple things bring the greatest reward..
Some great ideas! I've been sticking with the yoga- seems to help. I also like the idea of doing something creative-crafts, photography, etc. I like to crochet - haven't picked that up in a while but I will try it. I think in taking care of ourselves, there are all kinds of possibilities. What's important is to find something that reminds us that we do have a "self"- something that has nothing to do with our addict & our relationship to him or her. I find that sometimes a very little thing like listening to an old CD from when I was younger brings me back to who I was, who I still am at heart despite all the bad stuff that's happened. Makes me feel better.
Mayabee, I read that zumba was a great way to stay fit and dance away the pounds. Today I joined a gym that offers zumba classes 3x week, so I'm really looking forward to that. I've also started knitting, for Christmas I knitted scarves for my nieces. My goal is learn how to knit caps and make enough to donate to a shelter. These things bring me joy in the midst of the heartache a I feel over my children's addictions.
Some great suggestions, especially the "sticky bun" cure! Last weekend I started taking pictures again, set up a rock garden in the yard and photographed the white-crowned sparrows. It was the first time I've taken out my gear in 7 months, it used to be my passion. I've so neglected my hobbies and interests, mainly because I have been barely able to function, my addict son has sapped every ounce of energy. It felt good to do something creative and connect with the natural world, appreciate it's beauty. Got to clear out the cobwebs every now and then.
Hello All, Finally got out my jucier and made carrot, celery and apple juice. Made a glass for my brother too. Will make some more in the morning. It takes awhile, juicing makes you have more energy. I've been drinking 4 to 6 cups of green tea a day now for over a month. Sleeping better. Have a cup of coffee when we go out to eat and it feels like a special treat because I absolutely looove coffee. Love the taste, love the smell. They say that green tea lowers your dtress by 30 per cent. Love, Deb