Ron, your post was amazing, made me think a lot.
I haven't been sleeping well lately. My body, and my mind are restless. Feels like something is going to happen, with my dad, my grandma, Son2, or something...
I have to tell you about my mother, my role model, in order to explain how Son2's addiction has changed me. Mom married my dad at 19, they started having kids right away. She never worked except for 1 year as an accounting assistant after we were all out of the house. Her job was, and still is, to take care of her family. She always has been a worrier. She has fussed over every drama, big and small, in my dad's family, our family, her kids, and now her grand kids. I think over the years she has seen her role to worry about everyone in the family. She also is the caretaker. She feels responsible for the health of my dad, her mother, and of course herself. My mother was my model for being a wife and mother. I always felt if I could be half the woman she was, I would be successful.
When we found out about Son2's addiction, I didn't want to tell my parents. They had already been through a lot with my niece and nephew. Sometimes that was all Mom could talk about. I did finally tell them after a couple of months. I finally decided in their shoes, I would want to know. Anyway, I tried to be "Mom", I reacted the only way I knew how... but it wasn't enough.
So, how have I changed?
I am not nearly as hard on other parents. I was raised to believe kids are an extension of their parents. I don't know how many times I heard my parents be very critical of the parents when their kids messed up. They are probably doing that right now.
I can't fix this. This has been a slow realization, but I am finally coming to terms with it. Early on, I used to say I'm going to do everything I can, if it doesn't work it's not going to be for "my" lack of trying. It's been hard to let go of the idea that Son2's recovery is my responsibility. Now, I know I can't do it for him, but I can offer him support in his recovery.
Worrying doesn't help. It certainly doesn't help my son, and it just makes me crazy, so why do it? It's very difficult for me, hence the tossing and turning at night... but I'm trying.
Other things like it's not my fault, Addiction is a disease, I'm trying to embrace. Logically these things make sense, but emotionally... I don't know.
I'm a stronger person than I was. Maybe a bit more hardened, maybe a bit frustrated with parents who worry because their 23 year old just got a lip ring, or had a beer.
And sad... of course. Sad that this has happened, that loss of a couple years he'll never get back. A changed person.