As I was leaving for my cross-country cycling trip, my son was in the process of entering a treatment program. After eight months clean, a minor relapse, and another round with an infection, he made a commitment, on his own, to enter a treatment program. While this was not the first time he would be entering one, this was the first time he made a concerted effort to get in.
The struggle is my battle with history and past experiences. With the past clearly in my memory bank, I am having trouble believing he is where he says he is, working a 30-day program which will transition to a 60-day IOP/sober living home, and is not deceiving us in the process. Based on past experiences with addiction, recovery, and treatment, rarely do events go as planned, committed or promised. Even though everything I have been exposed to indicates a new day has dawned, I find myself struggling to trust or believe anything is different. I am looking for, expecting the other shoe to drop and the alternative, actual truth to be exposed.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1 NIV)
Despite all my misgivings, my cynicism, my reluctance to believe in an alternative truth, my son desires I trust him. He provides all the necessary indicators for me to have faith in the journey he declares he is on. And, even though I want to believe, I am having a very hard time embracing it. I find myself seeking clues or looking for indicators that none of this is true. Because, based on experience, this is what I expect.
My struggle is my sensitivity to the impact my attitude is having on the healing process for both of us. Not being able or willing to trust my son’s story isn’t being directly projected in our phone interactions; but, I am certain he senses my cautious attitude. He can’t help but experience some of the distance I am creating around what he desires I know and believe about where he is. I cannot help but feel a sense of frustration in not being able to give him my trust, to have faith in him and his recovery journey.
I know what it is like to know when people are pulling back from me because they aren’t quite ready to trust or believe me. It hurts. In most cases, this reluctance doesn’t come from history; but, it comes from a lack of comfort or exposure. Even so, I know that feeling and I don’t want my son to experience it, especially if everything he is sharing is true.
Imagine experiencing a positive and incredible breakthrough in your life and having those you love most look at it with a jaded eye, just waiting for you to go back to your old ways. I don’t want to be that dad.
As I share this with you, my prayer is for courage to trust the story my son is sharing with me. I pray for the ability to have faith in him and this journey he is asking me to be part of. I pray for God’s strength to allow me to move into a different place with the confidence that even if things aren’t as they seem, I will have faith in God’s presence in all of this and in His plan for the journeys my son and I are both on.
I cannot see what is before me, but I know God does. Faith is trusting in Him and what he doing our lives, not in me trying to figure out if what I think I see or fear is true.
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