March 20, 2011

It is Not Always About You

Day 79: 24.9 miles/1:24

”Your commitment exerts a great deal of force — don’t let it run over innocent or unknowing bystanders.”

Yesterday I wrote about my experience and concerns that Brandon had a setback.  After an extended conversation and a little introspection, I discovered that I over reacted to the situation.   This experience brought to light a perspective about my commitment — the unrelenting side of it — that I would like to share in this post.  Enjoy.

Disappointment, dishonesty, betrayal of trust, and relapses are all part of the addicted life – for those who deal with addicts.  Having become very clear on my commitment to staying focused regardless of Brandon’s situation has provided me great strength and clarity.  It has also positioned me to be more assertively protective of my mission to steer clear of his ups and downs, or his failings.  Yesterday was a perfect example of a situation where I responded to indicators that appeared true – without investing or spending very much time assessing the accuracy of my perspective.  The security net that I have created for myself has become a very powerful and inspirational resource; however, it cannot be so strong that it impedes my ability to be effective by making me reactive or hypersensitive.

I have heard many people say in critical jest, “there is nothing worse than a reformed smoker.”  In context, many former smokers have no idea how much they reference their success in relation to other’s shortcomings.  The celebration of their success almost prevents others from living in freedom the choices that they make.  Everyone’s journey to success takes its own path and your path, while it worked for you, is not the barometer of how or why others should do what you did.

In some cases, yesterday’s situation with Brandon is very similar.  I am always alert and hyper-sensitive to Brandon’s physical presence.  I am doing it more to protect me that out of concern for him.  For I am not accountable for his recovery – he is.  I am sensitive because I am protecting myself from his next screw up to the point where I am judgingly looking for it.  I am using my commitment in conflict with Brandon’s ability to follow his path.  How can a person be free to be present if they are being continually evaluated for authenticity?

When working on our goals and our commitment, people will sometimes create impediments.  These obstacles sometimes are merely perceived as personal or intentional.  Their actions may not be how we would do something relative to our commitment.  None of these things matter.  What matters is how you stay on your journey, discover how to appropriately communicate your commitment to your journey, and how effectively you make certain that your mission is not imposed into the journey of others.

Brandon deserved a less emotional, more intellectual approach to the situation yesterday.  I made my concerns more about my mission than about our supporting each other on our respective callings.  I was so busy protecting my world that I tossed him out of his.  Be mindful of the power of your commitment.  It is important to be unrelenting in staying on course – just make certain you don’t run someone over who doesn’t believe they are in the way.

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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.