I am one of the original Mothers’ Gathering members. When my life was spiraling out of control and I felt like I was losing myself, my mind, and my family was drowning (due to my child’s drug addiction), I talked with Nanci on the phone EVERY chance I could. I was a total mess. I was trying to save my addicted child from drugs, save my drug-free younger children from the chaos of all of it, and function in society.
One day she asked if I would attend an Impromptu Moms’ Coffee Meeting because she had many other moms reaching out to her with the same issues my family was experiencing. We met almost four years ago and most of us are still coming today. I came to the meeting to learn how to save my child but found so much more.
When I first came to the group I was LOST. I felt hopeless and ashamed. I felt like a failure as a mom/parent and a person. I couldn’t understand how my husband and I could have raised our child to act the way he was acting. I thought my child was a liar and a thief. I didn’t understand the disease of addiction and that telling lies and stealing is part of the disease. I also fully believed if I said the right thing or did the right thing I could save him. It took a lot of time and work to realize I can only save myself.
Attending the group meetings gave me a safe space to learn about addiction, ask questions, share my experiences, and learn from other moms who have walked in my shoes. I felt relief knowing I wasn’t judged or looked down on because I had an addicted child. I learned not to be ashamed of something I cannot control.
The transition from enabling and trying to save my child (24 hours a day) to detaching from the drama that comes with addiction took a while. It is definitely a learning process – with A LOT of trials and errors. I was determined to SAVE MY CHILD from this horrible disease. I knew I loved him enough to save him. It took a lot of time, practice, and support from the group, but I finally learned that the only person I can control is myself. If I needed (or need) to call a mom from our group to make it through a tough time, I KNOW there will ALWAYS be several to call. I AM NOT ALONE.
I learned to stay strong, set boundaries, love my child but recognize the illness, celebrate small victories, and live a better quality of life. I have done crazy (dangerous) things to “save” my child” – I have been places I should have never been, seen things I wish I had never seen, and put myself and my younger children in dangerous situations to try to save my addicted child. I hope by sharing my stories, I can help other moms transition more quickly than I did.
I am not sure I could “do life” without our Mothers’ Gathering. We have a bond like no other. We aren’t a group you “want” to be part of, but if you have an addicted child, there’s no place better! It has been almost three years since we started our group and I make it a priority to attend EVERY week. I attend – not just for myself, but hope to share my experiences to help other moms. My child is doing better than he has in YEARS, but the meetings are part of MY recovery and I know that if something happens to end his sobriety, I will be surrounded by the love of the members of our group.