May 30, 2017

Helping them find a way home

Home is where you go to find solace from the ever-changing chaos, to find love within the confines of a heartless world, and to be reminded that no matter how far you wander, there will always be something waiting when you return.” ~ Kendal Rob

What would your life look like if you thought you could never return home?

How would you feel if knew that everything you lost could never be recovered?

When you are lost, what is the one place where you find the greatest safety and comfort?

What if it was taken away from you?

Hope. Safety. Protection. Comfort. Love.

A safe harbor is what home means to me. Having the confidence to know, no matter where I am, what I have done, or how I am feeling, there is place for me to return.

We have all ruined relationships, burned bridges through our own bad behaviors or choices, or irreparably hurt someone. In those situations, we often believe there is nothing to return to. We mourn the loss, often saddened by some finality in our truth, and move on, convinced there is no road home.

The parable of the Prodigal Son comes to mind. It is the story of a son who cashed in on his inheritance early, left his family, lived it up, lost it all and ended up destitute. He wanted desperately to return home, but was convinced there was no road back. Eventually he returned, humbled and remorseful, happy to just be a servant in order to be home. To his surprise, he found out there was a more incredible welcome awaiting him.

When I look back on the many conversations I have had with people in recovery, their concerns about returning home are powerfully sad. They are fully aware of the hurt, the pain, the destruction their behaviors had on their family. They are convinced, like the prodigal they have lost everything, including a road home to those they love. While they do the hard work on themselves, there is this lingering pressure, can I do enough to ever be able to return home?

Many parents will say to me, “my child knows if they are in recovery and not using, they can come back.” How true is that? Under what conditions, restrictions, hurdles or expectations would you allow this? How many of us are truly willing to, like the father in the parable, forgive everything when they do return? How many of us are able to really trust them at this point in their journey? What pressures do we put on them to earn the right to return home?

This is a difficult, sensitive discussion. The pain of past experiences doesn’t go away quickly or easily. Unfortunately, the pressure this may be putting on someone struggling to find their way home can be daunting.

I struggled to trust my son until I stopped managing my issues with his addiction. We decided to love him in the moment and even let him come home to escape his homelessness upon occasion. It wasn’t always easy. We had our difficult moments. There were a few times where he used or got arrested while living at home. This caused a lot of heartache, disrupted the new order, and rocked us emotionally. I often wrestled with doubts about the wisdom in our decisions. I would have preferred a different outcome from some of these adventures; but then, life rarely goes according to plan.

We chose this path for a lot of reasons. The most important one was we decided our son needed to know there was always going to be a safe harbor for him, even in his most difficult times. Allowing him experience the truth of our love, in the most chaotic times, demonstrated there was something he could always count on – a way home.

Despite the many failures of this strategy, our son acknowledged more than once his profound appreciation for the hope he received in our love for him and how we chose to live it out. He knows wherever he is, even when everything seems hopelessly lost, there is always a way home. This path presented us with a unique and challenging learning curve and delivered us some tough, painful moments. But, I am convinced it provided my son with a continued motivation for and promise in his recovery; and is one of the reasons he fighting to stay on his recovery path.


Want more insights from this blog? Join me on the podcast “100Pedals Talk: Inside the Blog” where I delve deeper into this post and share personal stories or reflections behind the article. (Note: The podcast relating to any particular blog is release two or three days after the blog was posted.)

I would love to hear from you. What issues are confronting you today? Where are you currently experiencing fear and shame relating to the struggles in your life? I have some pretty cool tools to guide you and would love to help.  Please let me know:

Dave Cooke is going on the Road! Learn more about this year’s cross county cycling trip,  Cycling for Recovery 2017.






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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.