Your child’s recovery is none of your business!
A pretty harsh way to start a blog conversation. The more I learn about addiction, recovery, parenting and all the dynamics associated with the struggle, the more I am committed to this statement.
Now that I have your attention, let me expand…
Your child’s recovery is none of your business, unless…
- You have been asked and encouraged by your child to be part of the process; and,
- You have made a commitment to engage in your own recovery education program involving:
- Recognizing your own addictive behaviors and its toxic impact on your life and others (honestly, we all have addictions, we just don’t understand or accept them as such)
- Immerse yourself in addiction education – not just the behaviors, but the underlying issues
- Commit to a recovery education process which goes beyond teaching you how to respond to the behaviors of your addicted child as a form of self-protection education
- Understanding your child’s addiction journey from their experiences, not yours
Parents, we do not have the right to sit on the sidelines, judge the process, evaluate progress, and define success and failure in narrow behavioral segments, without having gone through their own rigorous developmental, learning process, first. It is not fair to their child, their family, or themselves. Engaging from the sidelines short circuits a critical healing and educational phase that inhibits forgiveness and understanding when things go awry. And, we all know things often can and do go wrong.
I have been on this journey for nearly ten years. The first two years, my focus was do whatever it takes to get my son to embrace sustained recovery. I protected him, coddled him, screamed at him, shamed him, hugged him, loved him and put my best inspirational shit before him. Nothing worked. I was frustrated, upset, angry, disappointed and hurt – note, these are all toxic emotions which help no one!
Then, I went through a personal transformation period which became the foundation for the work here at 100Pedals. I went through several incredible phases of personal and spiritual development. This educational and developmental work resulted in a much higher level of understanding to the issue of addiction, what I was dealing with, and what needed to occur for my son to embrace a sustained recovery. After six years work, nothing really changed, except me.
This past year, I made a monumental shift. I decided to love my son, despite his addiction, and regardless of his choices. I accepted the reality that his addiction was his journey, his recovery, too. I made a commitment to love him and engage him whenever I could, wherever I could. At times it really hurt to experience him in his active addiction. It still does.
In the process, something changed. We talk, we laugh, we love, we share. We get to enjoy each other. We are healing. He appears to be working on his long-term recovery and he sometimes shares where he is. Unless he shares where he is on his journey with his addiction/recovery, I don’t ask – its none of my business. Regardless of where he is on his journey, we communicate, we connect and we share. We talk sports, music, family, stories – we are healing.
It is my responsibility, it is my role, to make certain my son knows he is loved, he is valued, he is appreciated, he is amazing, and he is safe. When he knows he can trust me with who he is, where he is, I have given him the dad he needs of me, without criticism, judgment or condemnation.
It is not about what I expect my son to be or, where I want him to be. When I do that, it makes his life about me. Instead, I make our interactions about who he is, where he is and how much I love him right there, in that moment. That makes our relationship all about him. It is where our healing begins.
My son’s recovery is none of my business. It is his recovery. It is his journey. I can only be involved or included when and if he invites me. And, when/if he does, I am better prepared and equipped to support him exactly in the way he needs. My confidence comes from having done the hard work needed to be most effective for supporting him.
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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 if you need more: dave@100Pedals.com.