Her Son Has an Addiction, What Do I Say? Part 2 – Jessica McCurdy #12

What is it like to plan your living son’s funeral? What is it like to grieve a loved one who hasn’t died? In Part 2 of my interview with Jessica McCurdy, we talk about about how culture sees addiction: moral failure vs disease.

What is it like to plan your living son’s funeral? What is it like to grieve a loved one who hasn’t died?

In Part 2 of my interview with Jessica McCurdy, we talk about about how culture sees addiction: moral failure vs disease. Jessica gives us an incredible word picture of this disease – how it is a miracle when a person is staying out of active addiction, and how we can change our language to better honor those coping with this disease and its effects. She also explains that active addiction is about grief; you are not only losing the person but also experiences they will never have with their loved one.
00:08:00 this is a disease – how are we seeing this as a culture: moral failure, a choice, deficit in character :
00:09:00 Cancer, MS, Lupus – “they are a survivor or a warrior”, Cancer – we feel bad with no moral failure, addiction moral failure because they have to put something in our body – the addiction starts before anything is put into the body – Addiction is in the disease model –The first choice was an actual “choice”
00:13:00 admitting they are powerless against that drug – affects the survival part of the brain –
00:15:00  She calls Camron a survivor – it’s a miracle that someone stays clean – breathing underwater
00:16:00  Active Addiction – Changing our language – if there is not a cure then he will always be an addict – she will not support him during this time
00:18:00  Symptoms of addiction lying, manipulating, cheating, stealing, commiting crimes – symptoms of cancer treatment nausea, lethargy, taste of copper
00:19:00  Her fears to tell us what she wishes we knew – She felt very alone – not many parents speak up about what’s going on because of the shame
00:22:22  in AL-Anon she could pray he would die – mourning a living person
00:23:17  grief groups in church turned her away – she didn’t want to grieve alone
00:24:20 you don’t know where you belong in the church – she wanted hope from the church –
00:25:00  She started to miss church all the time because she would cry – her current church are comfortable with tears – the old church system didn’t have a culture that made it safe to be in pain
00:29:20 Kathleen: the culture of church needs to be changed – we watch what happens to others in pain and decide whether church is safe in our pain
00:30:35 What she wishes we knew about the grief – “what would feel good to you?”
00:33:00  we’re grieving like we lost someone – she lost graduation, proms, football,
The loss is repeated over & over – they are in fear all the time (PTSD) – they are warriors/fighters
00:35:00 what could we practically do and what should we not do:

Hurtful Words to Stay Away From

  • “What drugs is he using?” – the path & consequence could be the same –
  • “Is it just alcohol?”
  • “Addiction is such a stronghold. Just trust God.”
  • “He’ll be okay. He’ll find his way. He has a good mama.” – this feeds into her codependency – addiction is not either good or bad, it’s a disease
  • “Is he doing good now?”
  • “Oh really, Camron doesn’t seem like that type of kid?”
  • “You’re so strong; you’ll get through this.”
  • “Camron is a good kid; he’ll come out the other side.”
00:44:40 “My son is going to die before I do.” – this is a real possibility – she’s already planned his funeral

Helpful Words to Say

  • “I’m so sorry. My heart hurts for your mama’s heart.”
  • “I wish I could take away all this pain for you.”
  • “I’m crying with you. How can I be here for you?”
  • “This must be so devastating.”
  • “How can I love you through this?” – Jessica’s favorite
00:49:00 How is Camron doing now?
00:52:55 Big Reveal

PLEASE REMEMBER: Supporting a Friend who has a Loved One battling Active Addiction and/or Recovery

    • Your friend is going to be going through a lot of loss and it will repeat itself over and over.
    • To recognize they may be in fear all the time. They may actually have PTSD.

Advice from other moms:

  • stand by her, don’t judge her or her son or daughter.
  • I wish they would know that coffee dates and going to the movies and taking her to lunch may be the thing that keeps her going for one more day.
  • Inviting her to get a pedicure she can’t afford because all her money is being spent on a rehab or counselor,
  • going for a walk with her to get her mind off things.
  • Remember no one brings them a casserole when their child is going to rehab.
  • Just be a friend like you would if she had lost a child and is grieving because she is.
  • Know this is a game changer. Her life won’t be the same but it can be better with the Lord. As she finds her identity in Him and not in whether her child is successful and beats their addiction or doesn’t.
  • Laugh with her when she laughs and cry with her when she cries but whatever you do, don’t avoid her.
Jessica’s Book Recommendation
Jessica’s Church
How to Reach Out to Jessica:
Resources for Those Supporting Someone in Recovery
Facebook Support Groups:
Sober Living Oregon Recovery Center: https://www.soberlivingrc.com/
Kathleen’s WorkbookEmbrace You: A Guide to Uncovering the Real You
Are you a visual learner? Wish you had in written form all the guest’s tips about how to be a loving supportive friend? Become a $2/month patreon member and receive an Episode Guide that outlines all her practical tips (as well as some others we didn’t discuss). Patreon Information
Wanna Become a Patreon Member? Click here => Patreon Information
Where to find Kathleen
Instagram: @speakerkathleenmpeters
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