“Watching someone you love more than anything, walk away at 6:30 in the morning, tired, hungry and knowing they have no where to go is heartbreaking. Once again we decided it was time for them to go. As I stood in my home looking out, watching with that depressed and tired expression, looking back at our home like there is no one left in the world who cares about them is tearing me up inside. I know this is how it has to be. I need this to stop one way or another. I can’t take it much longer. What if there is no bottom? I have often thought this time is it, this will be the time they will seek help but it never is. I fear the bottom may be suicide one day. If that happens, will I be able to live with that?”
There comes a point in a parents’ addiction journey when they realize they have no control over their child’s decisions. This discovery is not limited to parents of children with addiction issues, it is every parents’ reality. There comes a point as our children get older where we cannot tell them what to do, we can only advise them what to do. Eventually, parents realize we cannot advise anymore, unless asked.
The difference between a normal parental journey and one challenged by the continued presence of addiction, is that our inability to control or define the choices our children make has significant consequences relating to the outcomes of these choices. While most parents live a life of natural concern and worry over the behaviors of their child, a parent in the addiction journey have a much higher level of angst. Their children are in a living battle for their lives, their soul, and their future. It is hard to find comfort in these choices once a parent realizes there is no way to help them anymore.
Parenting has never been easy. We want so much for our children that it is hard to watch them struggle, fail, fall down, or get lost. Being a parent is a lifetime commitment. There is never a time when once someone becomes a parent, they stop being a parent. Even when a child grows old, marries, and has children of their own – we are still parents.
Being a parent is not our only responsibility, though. Being a parent means that there are times where we must let our children find their path – even if it is a dangerous one. There comes a point where love, hope, and encouraging are going to have to be enough as we let them go to face the consequences, outcomes, and impact of their choices, their dreams, or their mistakes.
It is not easy letting go. It is even harder to let go of a child who is lost, hurting or sick. Regardless, it is their path, their journey and their life — they need to find it, follow it, and live it on their terms. Along the way we can hope, pray, and offer encouragement and direction. If all goes according to our dream for them, they will return to us inspired, changed, and happy. That is what letting go is all about!
Get your complimentary audio of my program “The Ways to Rise Above the Addiction Drama.” Taken from the lessons of my experiences with my youngest son’s heroin addiction, I provide three behavioral tips for parents that will help them find more peace and clarity in dealing with the chaotic and destructive actions of a child dealing with addiction. To get your complimentary copy click here.