Allies member Shelleybobelly watched Module 7 on Caring for Yourself, but feels the examples given are not appropriate for her life. Between overdoses and relapses, she and her daughter are in crisis mode. Below, Annie Highwater responds with some thoughts about the emotional storms that accompany crisis, addiction, relapse.
"I have watched Module 7. The Modules are helpful but your examples really don’t fit real life. My daughter called last night from the RE where she had OD'd. She was dead on arrival and they brought her back. She was trying to leave against doctors' orders. I was up most of the night trying to encourage her to get help. My daughter spent all of last summer in ICU with acute respiratory failure and almost died several times. 10 weeks in the hospital and it was sheer hell. She was doing good until her birthday July 2 when she turned 21…she relapsed and she has entered and left two rehabs this month alone. I will watch module 7 again and see if it can help. I did do the breathing exercise which help me a great deal. shelley"
Boy do I understand how you feel. There are times when the flames seem to rise up from every direction and burn so hot that nothing seems to calm life back down. My situation sometimes felt impossible to me. I, too, have had times with my son (and sometimes my mother, invasive in the middle of us) where no advice seemed to fit the MANY out-of-control situations going on — all at once! The cliché "When it rains, it pours" could not have been said enough. Those storms can feel extremely difficult and terrifying to navigate. I am so sorry your daughter is struggling, but what a Mom she has—one who is willing to put in the time and work to be a comfort and guide—not everyone has that.
I am not certain what exactly it will take for your daughter gain time and momentum with her recovery, I just know that treatment, treatment, treatment is the goal and priority. You seem to be doing the right thing to direct her that way. Beyond that, doing the work to manage the emotions her struggle causes (which can be ferocious in the midst of the situation) is another important goal. Trust me, I get it. It's a process.
I learned to work on things in the calm times, on the days where things were somewhat "okay" and I could breathe and think. That way, when an urgency came up or if chaos set in, I had a plan in place as far as steps to take, numbers to call, people to reach out to who could talk me off the ceiling, etc. The Allies in Recovery member site is great for all of that, and the team is a wonderful support—available for you in those moments.
Don't hesitate to reach out, email, or call an available number. And be sure you are building a support system for yourself. I attended family support groups, surrounded myself with safe, informed, trustworthy people as I worked on my sanity in the midst of those dark days. Gradually things began to turn around. My son is now six years into his recovery, but there was a time when I didn't think he would ever be healthy (or sane). Now, there is little evidence of those days in our lives, except that we openly talk about it. Recovery is possible!
None of our situations gets to the crisis point overnight, it takes time to turn it around. I looked at it like turning a ship around—it took time, effort, reaction modification, and adjustment for our family to get on track. The Learning Modules are great, the information resonates in your thinking in moments when you need it. I watched them over and over. There are relatable podcasts on the Allies site, and things you can get from the library or Amazon like therapy workbooks that can help (such as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy). You can work through those in the meantime, they are SO helpful. Those resources are not expensive and they teach you powerful things in a relatively short time. It's not a one-size-fits-all process, but these are tools that definitely bring about great change.
Remember, you are not alone and it's not hopeless. Your daughter is still LIVING, and you are doing the research and work to be healthy on your end, which can get things headed in the right direction. There is lots of hope for you both.
We are here for you,
Annie Highwater is a Writer, Speaker, Podcast Host and Family Advocate. She has a particular interest in family pathology and concepts of dysfunction, addiction, alcoholism and conflict. Annie published her memoir, Unhooked: A Mother’s Story of Unhitching from the Roller Coaster of Her Son’s Addiction, in 2016. Her story sheds light on the personal challenges facing the affected parents and family members, and illustrates how family dynamics both help and hinder the recovery process. Annie’s second book, Unbroken, Navigating the Madness of Family Dysfunction, Addiction, Alcoholism and Heartache was published in August of 2018. She resides in Columbus, Ohio and enjoys writing, long distance running, hiking, the great outdoors and visiting her son in California as often as possible.