How many times have you said, ”I am not dealing with you or this anymore until you go to recovery.”
I am certain I laid the law down like this more than once. I distinctly remember a time where I looked right at my son, high at the time, and said, “until you decide to get clean, you will always be an addict, and this is going to be your life.” Even though I spoke the truth, my anger came through. In his darkest days, this is not what he needs to hear from his dad.
He knows he needs help. He knows he needs to go to recovery. He knows nothing will change unless he changes the path he is on. I wasn’t sharing profound words of wisdom, I was sharing my intense frustration over the entire addiction issue.
You may say, “what’s wrong with what you said?” Nothing is “wrong” with it, except what was my objective in saying it? Was I hoping to move him to a different reality in the hopes that my outburst was going to be the call to action he needed to hear? Or, was I simply vetting my struggle with the insanity of it all?
I have been closely examining behaviors and words coming out of my mouth toward others. I would love to say I am a professional at being gentle, kind, encouraging and supportive all the time. Truth is, I am quite good when I am interfacing with or coaching a parent in their addiction struggle. But, when I am not in that mode, I am not always on my game. When I am not engaging others at that healing level, I realize how much I interrupt their ability to trust me and connect with me. It prevents us from moving forward through the issues which confront us.
The words we choose can begin a healing process, even when healing doesn’t seem possible or close. While we may feel the need to engage someone who is not anywhere close to where we need or desire them to be harsh direct words are not what they need from us.
Take my outburst with my son. What if I had said to him, “You have no idea how much I love you. In fact, my love for you is greater than anything I can offer. I know you are in the middle of a struggle. I know there is nothing I can do until you are ready to work through it. Know this, because I love you as much as I do and crave nothing more than for you to find peace in your life, when you are ready to make a change, I will be there with you and we can walk this out together. I know it will take a lot for you to trust me with this commitment, but please remember this, when you are ready to take this journey with me, I will be there to take it with you. That is how much I love you.”
We have choice. We can wait for recovery to happen before we begin the healing process. Or, we can engage in healing conversations and interactions every chance we get, without condemnation, judgment, or criticism. It is up to you.
Do you want to wait for them to be the child you expect them to be; or, are you willing to be the parent they need you to be?
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