January 19, 2015

“I can’t take this anymore!”

Control - 100PedalsTo those who say, “I can’t take this anymore,” you don’t have to. Nothing is stopping you from changing what is happening in your world, except you. Even though the circumstances causing you to make this declaration may not be under your direct control, you still have the ability to seize control of your life and redefine your actions, decisions, and choices in response to that which impacts you.

You cannot take “it” anymore because you are wrestling with your inability to be in control of something you have no control over. Instead of attempting to control an situation or issue that is not yours to manage, focus instead on what you have control over – your life!

You are not helpless. You are not a victim. You are not powerless.

You are choosing to live in an adverse situation simply because it is easier to live with the conflict, the controversy and the pain than it is to do the difficult work of changing your life in response to it.

Many of the parents I coach who are dealing with family addiction issues exclaim “this is hard work!” They struggle with the work associated with learning and discovering how to change their behaviors, their responses, and their conversations as it relates to their child’s addiction. When they finally realize the only aspect of this situation they can change exists in their life and not the life of their child, their whole mindset shifts. It is only then do they begin to focus on what they control, not what they cannot. It is in that shift they find resolve to begin managing their life rather than getting caught up in the insanity of attempting to manage a child’s addiction!

Many parents expect their children to completely change their lives to give up their addiction. Yet, they fail to realize that in the face of this same situation they will also to need to change their habits, routines, and behaviors, as well.

Think about it! You are expecting your loved one to embrace the concept and the effort required to initiate change and move from a toxic situation in their life, even though you cannot engage in the same form of activity to change your life in relation to similar, damaging activities.

It is much easier to expect and demand change of someone else, rather than be responsible for making changes in ourselves!

If you are obsessed with and invested in managing the daily chaos of a loved one’s addiction – STOP.  It is their problem, not yours. Quit demanding they change their life. It is their life, not yours. Manage your life. Take control of your life.

Instead, take your own advice. Do what you need to do to move away from the situation and not be insanely invested in managing what you cannot control. Save yourself. Take care of yourself. Change your behaviors, improve your communication skills, set clear boundaries and enforce them, quit enabling your child, and empower them to live, learn, and experience the consequences of their choices. Most importantly, let go of the fear, guilt and worry associated with the choices they make – you cannot control or change them anyway!

It will not be easy, it will not be fun, it will not always go smoothly at first. Change is difficult and challenging. It is also more productive and emotionally, physically healthier than what you are doing right now. Like recovery, change is a process. You will get better and smarter and stronger once you decide change is necessary. And remember, none of this is a tactic to help them find recovery. It is a commitment that will help you reclaim a derailed life – yours. When they are ready, if they are ready, they will be fortunate to find you a stronger, healthier more capable resource of strength and inspiration.  If they never are ready, you will have moved your life forward in a positive, productive direction despite the loss. Take control of what you can control.  Let go of what you cannot.  Find clarity for your life in the process. Peace!

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.