June 11, 2014

A Parent’s Perspective on Empowerment and Recovery

My child was in a sober living house for nearly six weeks, following a thirty-day stint at a recovery center. Unfortunately, my child relapsed this past week. I would love to them get back into their sober living home, though I not sure of the process or time involved to make this happen. I worry about them losing their job, as well. (I had called their work and told them they were in the hospital and that work would get a call when they were feeling better.) I am not sure what the next step is. I have been told I may need to stay out this let them figure it out for themselves, but am afraid they won’t be able to. Looking for any helpful advice here.

Recovery and EmpowermentI am always sorry to hear about a child’s relapse. Unfortunately, relapse is a  frustrating, painful and confusing part of the process.

The last part of this note is what captured my attention. The past few posts, I have talked about controlling what we can control and detachment. The comments from this parent reminds me of the importance of understanding, embracing and engaging in these behaviors.

The sooner our addicted child learns how to figure things out and be responsible for the outcomes and future actions relating to their choices, the more prepared they will be to manage their recovery. This is a difficult process for all parents, as it was for me, and we all become really good at managing their recovery; but, at some point in time all parents realize their addicted child has to figure out how to manage these things for themselves.

The sooner we let our children learn to manage their messes, the sooner they will realize how chaotic and disruptive their actions and choices are.  Continuing to manage their recovery or post-relapse garbage, frees them from experiencing how destructive they are.

There was a time when I managed the entire recovery, post-relapse, addiction related garbage for my son.  I did everything – until I didn’t. I was not aware of the impact of those actions — on me and my son — until I stopped. It did not result in an immediate shift to the desired outcomes — i.e. permanent recovery — but it did alter how I lived my life in response to his choices and defined when he became more responsible for his recovery or lack of it.

Your child cannot do for themselves, what you are doing for them. Doing for them protects them, but it does not teach them. Even though addiction is a screwed up, confusing, and painful mess – it is your child’s addiction, not yours. Let them manage it and decide how they want to recovery from it. Until you stop manage their recovery for them, they will never manage it for themselves.

Author’s note: I have been living with my son’s addiction for six years. When I became responsible for my personal recovery, not my my son’s, is when my entire life changed in an incredible way. It is my mission to educate, coach, and inspire other parents to celebrate and live their life despite the chaos of addiction that surrounds them. I am here to help – please, contact me if you would like to learn more.

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About Dave Cooke

Dave Cooke is a dad on a mission. His mission is to help parents get control of their lives over the powerful, destructive influences of a child's addiction. As the father of a son in a ten year heroin battle, Dave knows all to well the challenges parents and families face. He also knows there is a way to find peace in the chaos. It is his mission to help parents discover their path to a healthier, balanced life even if a child's active addiction is still part of their daily journey.