July 7, 2014

In Search of THE ANSWER

“My child is much more than a label or a diagnosis, she’s not a problem to be solved, but a child to be loved and guided toward a better life.” Ellie, a mother of a child battling her addiction

Brandon Cooke

A sample of some of my son’s booking photos plus one of a celebratory walk this spring.

I am coming up on an anniversary of sorts.  It has been around five years since I have been aware of my son’s battle with heroin. This anniversary marks my fifth year of continuing education in something I never planned on becoming a student of.  This has been one incredible, significant independent study project.

Parents, society, educators, lawmakers, those with addictions and counselors are going through similar learning curves. Each group has their experiences to draw on and their opinions and perspectives to express.  No one has THE ANSWER.  There is not a single, clear cut, easy answer. Frustrating as it may be, since we have been educated to believe there is always one single, solitary, and correct answer, there are no one-size fits all answer.

We need to quit attempting to shoe horn every successful outcome for one person’s recovery as the road map to be followed by everyone else.  When it comes to addiction there are far too many moving parts and pieces to simply state that THE ANSWER is out there.  That is naive, arrogant, and foolhardy.

To get a sampling of the wide variances in perspective, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What are the causes of addiction — mental health issues, environment, psychological influences, DNA?
  2. What are the courses for recovery – breakthrough prescription drugs, miracle cure treatment houses, multi-step programs, the God factor?
  3. What are the successful behaviors for parents – investment, tough love, enabling, prayer, surrender?

Is there a 100% cure formula in this limited list?  If so, what is it and why isn’t everyone doing it?

The truth is, there isn’t.  No one has THE ANSWER, quit chasing after one.

I recently read an article in the New York Times, “A Different Path to Fighting Addiction.” This article referenced an organization called the Center for Motivation and Change in New York. They have also released a book entitled, “Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Can Help People Change.” While this organization may not have the answer either, their philosophy stems from research based experience that treatment, recovery, and the addiction itself requires a customized approach, using understanding, love, applying constructive and positive communication, that actively involves all the impacted parties. I love it. I agree with it. And, I believe in it. Interestingly, it is the same approach I  accidentally discovered and followed in my personal recovery and 100Pedals journey.

I have learned when it comes to my son and his recovery, there are no standard answers, responses, solutions or outcomes. Not everyone is going to agree or understand the choices that I am making in regard to his recovery. I am okay with that, they don’t need to.  What I need to be clear about is my responsibilities, my role, and my boundaries. As long as my son knows what those are, we are good.  After that, his choices, actions, decisions, and outcomes are his to make and take.

The key to living and celebrating my life is not defined by how I manage his addiction or its influences on me or whether I am doing “the right thing” or not. For that is a fearful, subjective, joy stealing approach. The key to me enjoying my life is to empower my son to live his life, to accept his choices as behaviors I cannot control or change, and celebrate doing, being, and having what I have control over  – which is living my life and celebrating all that I can do with it! That is the only answer for me – it is my 100Pedals answer.


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.