I See You; Honoring Moms of Kids Misusing Drugs and Alcohol, with Brenda Zane

Hopestream for parenting kids through drug use and addiction
Hopestream for parenting kids through drug use and addiction
I See You; Honoring Moms of Kids Misusing Drugs and Alcohol, with Brenda Zane
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ABOUT THE EPISODE:

It’s Mother’s Day week, 2024. I’m personally counting my blessings because my kids are all healthy and our family is in a positive and safe place. It wasn’t always this way. There were Mother’s Days when I wanted to crawl even deeper under the covers and not show my face. There were Mother’s Days when I didn’t know where my oldest son was. 

Today, I want to honor those who may not be looking forward to Sunday, the ones who are feeling the weight of having a child who struggles with substance misuse and mental health challenges. I see you. I was you. I understand.

And for the single dads out there – this is for you, too. You hold both ends of the rope and I recognize how challenging and complex life is for you today as well. Sending much love, peace and comfort to you all this week.

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Brenda:
 0:01From one mom to another, I wish you as much peace and comfort as you can muster. If you’re in a good place right now with your child, I hope you’ll spend a few minutes in some sort of gratitude practice to acknowledge the progress you’ve all made as a family. And if you’re still in the pain and anxiety is eating away at you, know that this too shall pass. Try to get some sun and fresh air on your face. Take a few deep breaths and remember this is a chapter of your story, Not the whole book. You’re listening to HopeStream. If you’re parenting a young person who misuses substances, is in a treatment program, or finding their way to recovery, you have landed in the right place. This is your private space to learn from experts and gain encouragement and support from me, Brenda Zane, your host and fellow mom to a child who struggled. This podcast is just one of the resources that we offer for parents. So after the episode, head over to our website, HopeStreamCommunity. org. I am so glad you’re here. Take a deep breath, exhale, and know that you have found your people. Now let’s get into today’s show. Hey friend, well not only is it just us today, it is us on the week of Mother’s Day. I know this can be a tricky holiday depending on where you are on the roller coaster ride, so it’s a bit of a challenge to know what to say. I bet there are people in your life who also don’t really know what to say if you’re in the thick of it and you have a child struggling. My best advice is to assume good intent and know that people generally are very compassionate and want to be sensitive to how you might be feeling. So give yourself and those around you a hearty dose of grace this week and weekend. A while back in 2020, I wrote a piece in an attempt to share with the world what it is like to be a mom on Mother’s Day when you have a child who is struggling and at risk. It felt important because I had personally spent so many Mother’s Days just wishing things would be different, or some years wishing it wasn’t Mother’s Day at all. I went back to that piece this week in honor of Mother’s Day 2024, and I decided to add new thoughts I’ve had in the four years since I wrote the original. And that is what I would like to share with you today. It may be something you want to pass along to those in your life who don’t understand what you go through, because you are probably too exhausted to explain it. Mother’s day. It is supposed to be a day when you wear a beautiful outfit that fits perfectly by the way, to a sumptuous patio brunch, not cooked by you, Surrounded by the family members whom you are mothering. In the middle of the table stands a riotous bouquet of your favorite flowers, and you spend a sunny but not too hot morning eating your favorite foods. and chatting with your family. After they do the dishes, they surprise you by planting fresh herbs and heirloom tomatoes in a raised garden bed at the edge of your freshly landscaped yard. You observe this heartwarming activity from your vantage point in a new rattan patio sectional, sipping freshly brewed iced tea. How am I doing? Sound like your mother’s day? If so, I am truly thrilled for you. It means you are on the better side of your family struggles and you should relish every second of this experience. For some though, there’s another reality that plays out on a day like Mother’s Day. For the mom who has a child, regardless of age, who’s misusing, or addicted to drugs and alcohol. Life probably isn’t as tranquil or predictable as the image I just painted for you, and that can be painful. For a mom whose child or children wrestle with substances, she will experience anticipatory anxiety, wondering whether or not they’re alive. Let alone whether they’ll be coming over for French toast. She will wonder what her child is eating at their sober living house, 1500 miles away, or linger in her room a little longer, not wanting to face the drama of the day ahead. She may be foggy from lack of sleep, wondering how her child will spend their recent paycheck. Knowing it most likely won’t be to pay bills, buy food, or secure a place to live. She will hope it doesn’t go straight into their nose, vein, or mouth, continuing a cycle that holds them hostage another day. This mom lives in constant fear and dread that today might be the day she gets the phone call about an overdose, a collect call from jail, or worse, no call at all. She may get a text that promises, absolutely swears he’ll stop by later. Only she knows to place hope in that would be a predictable mistake. She might also be the mom who doesn’t even realize it’s Mother’s Day because after months of fighting, begging, and pleading, her daughters finally agreed to go to detox, only to find out the first bed won’t be open until next Tuesday. Mother’s Day? What? People on the outside don’t see that this mom is just like the one brunching on the patio. She created, birthed or adopted, diapered and carpooled this human being and she should be celebrated for it. But she’s looked at as if she’s somehow responsible for the fact her son steals laptops to pawn so he can buy street Suboxone to stave off the horrors of withdrawal. There’s a stigma that says she went wrong somewhere along the way, and maybe if her parenting skills were more advanced, or if she were more enlightened, or did enough yoga, or read the right books, her daughter wouldn’t be living in a motel with her dealer. This mom envies those who brunch peacefully with their kids, the ones who actually showed up to the restaurant sober and on time, kids who somewhere along the way found coping skills that don’t involve poisoning their bodies and numbing their souls. This mom would pay cash to have a conversation about the weather, who’s dating who, or what campsite has been reserved for the 4th of July. She craves normal, covets the mundane parts of life that don’t even make the radar of a mom whose kids are healthy. She doesn’t blame them. She just wants to rewind. She remembers when life was right side up and she didn’t have to sleep with her purse under her pillow. She can still smell the innocence of baby shampoo lingering in her daughter’s hair after a bath. She is still known as the best lacrosse team mom. Until she had to resign when her son went away to treatment and she didn’t have the strength to face the other parents on the field. It wasn’t always like this, and she pulls at the memories of better, brighter days as if to prove to herself that Mother’s Day, at one time, was a happy day. On Sunday, she will be home, heart and spirit heavy. She might make herself some toast with extra peanut butter as a nod to what advertisers tell her is her special day. She will check her phone again, making sure it’s not on silent, making sure it’s fully charged. This Mother’s Day, or any day, When you see that kid at the end of the freeway off ramp with a cardboard sign, tattered backpack, and defeated face, know this mom is his, and she’s not much different from you. And if you offer to let him use your phone, don’t be surprised if you hear him say, Hey, mom, it’s me. I love you. From one mom to another, I wish you as much peace and comfort as you can muster. If you’re in a good place right now with your child, I hope you’ll spend a few minutes in some sort of gratitude practice to acknowledge the progress you’ve all made as a family. And if you’re still in the pain and anxiety is eating away at you, know that this too shall pass. Try to get some sun and fresh air on your face. Take a few deep breaths and remember this is a chapter of your story, Not the whole book. Treat yourself to something special and delicious, and know you are not doing this alone. If you could use some extra support right now, please know Hope’s Dream exists solely to serve parents of kids struggling with substance use, and we would love to have you join us in one of our private, confidential online communities. It’s a place where you’ll learn new tools and skills for the challenges you face, And importantly, you’ll be surrounded in a judgment free space by other parents who get it. You can learn more and take advantage of a two week free trial at hope stream community. org. Thanks for being here. My friend, thank you for doing the hard work. You are incredible. And I will meet you right back here next week.

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