April 2, 2014

Addiction’s collateral damage

Walking alone - 100PedalsThe destruction of addiction in a family is significant.  While addiction hurts the addict, it also leaves a wake of destruction on the rest of the family.  Relationships suffer, negative emotions abound, and innocent victims are part of the collateral damage.

A mom writes…

I am so depressed. I don’t know who my boy is anymore and I don’t even know know who I am. Addiction has destroyed my kids, my relationship with my husband and my life. I have severe depression don’t know if I even want to do this anymore. I need prayers for strength please. I am hurting so bad.

I reached that same point with my son and his addiction. I could hardly get out of bed. I felt like the walking dead. My heart hurt for all that was going on around me. I lost focus on the rest of my life as I zeroed in on saving my son, only to realize that everything I was doing wasn’t working. In the end, my relationships, business, and health all suffered.

To this mom, I would offer this perspective from my story. Once I realized my life had spiraled completely out of control in my pursuit of saving my son, I seized control of the one component that I did have influence over — my life.

Instead of focusing all my efforts on convincing, forcing, encouraging, or fighting with my son to make better choices and pursue his recovery, I focused on taking care of myself first. I began every day with an activity that I knew was good for me.  For me, that activity was a one hour bike ride. What I experienced in that positive activity was a momentary escape from the reality of the situation in my life, a celebration of accomplishment and something good, and the opportunity to step back and reflect in a more productive manner on the chaos that had become my life.

I found peace, clarity, and perspective in my life through this process.  I learned to create boundaries over the influence my son had on my life.  I continued to love him unconditionally and would demonstrate that love constantly.  However, I accepted that his choices were his and there was little I would be able to do to change that.  I grieved for his failings and for his struggles, but I focused on making sure his behaviors did not destroy me and the life I have been called to live.

Addiction is a nasty beast. It destroys everything and everyone in its path. Once I realized I was becoming one of its victims, I created a recovery program that helped me break free from the grips of its control and discovered a new process for loving and encouraging my son without allowing my life to be destroyed in the process.

Parenting and Addiction, Uncategorized , , , , ,
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.