One day several years ago, as I began my morning bike ride, I got a weird feeling about my son, Brandon, who was living with me at the time. You know what I’m talking about. That subconscious “oh-no” feeling when something doesn’t feel quite right.
But Brandon had been doing really well in recovery, so I brushed it off and continued my ride. Yet the urge to turn back wouldn’t go away. Instead of stopping, I prayed, “I’m putting Brandon in Your hands.”
Unfortunately, when I returned I discovered why I felt so troubled. After twenty-one days Brandon had relapsed, stolen my bank card, withdrawn money, taken the car, driven to a drug dealer, and bought heroin. Then he returned to the house, replaced the card, and left for the gym to shoot up.
At that moment my happy, hopeful world came crashing down. I was bombarded with feelings of failure, deception, and betrayal. I told him to move out. I just couldn’t handle it anymore.
Even so, I kept wondering how something like this could have happened. What had he been thinking? He seemed to be doing well. Why didn’t he tell me he needed me? I would have delayed or skipped my ride if he had asked. Why hadn’t he phoned his sponsor instead of his dealer? These questions and a thousand more raced through my mind.
Once again, Brandon had jerked my emotions up and down, from joy to despair, from celebrating the best days we’d had in a long time to mourning, pain, loss, and grief. Still, I blamed myself. I should have stayed. I should have listened to my instincts. I should have paid extra attention to him.
Now I know better. The fault wasn’t mine. Brandon was old enough to take responsibility for his actions. That was his job. Not mine.
Since then I’ve learned how to take better care of “me.” I’ve learned how to self-differentiate and set firm boundaries. I’ve stepped off the emotional rollercoaster of codependency.
As the parents of addicts, we all have to do this at some point. It’s not easy. But it’s the only healthy way to help our kids.
I know that now, and I’m at peace with it.
Is your child addicted to drugs or alcohol? Do you feel trapped on an emotional rollercoaster? I can help. I’ve been there. I’ve experienced your pain, anguish and despair. That’s why I offer private Parent Coaching by phone ($55.00 per hour). I’ve developed a 7-step strategy that helps my clients regain their emotional balance, so they can move forward again and help their kids in healthy ways. To set up an appointment, call Dave Cooke 586-201-9057 or email email Dave today. You and your child are worth it!
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