January 9, 2011

The Gifts and Obligations of Trust

Day 9: 21.1 miles/1:14

“It takes a great deal of time and care to build trust; once broken, there may never be enough time to get it back.”

The life of an addict is built around deception, manipulation, and survival.  An addict will do almost anything to get their hands on the money that enables them to get the juice in their system.  The best and easiest sources for cash are from those who trust and love them the most—family and friends.  Every family with an addict has one, if not several, stories of how they have been conned out of cash, had belongings disappear, etc.  In the world of an addict lying is a critical part of survival.  Addicts become very adept at getting what they need.  One of the casualties of this process is the complete destruction of all trust in the person.

Trust is a gift.  It is something someone gives in response to a series of conversations, interactions, events or extended exposure.  In families, trust is almost unconditional from the start.  Siblings start out trusting, until they discover otherwise if that is a well-placed emotion.  In friends and contacts and relationships, trust is developed over time.  And, once it is earned, it is bestowed upon someone as though it were a present or a gift–I give you my trust or I trust you.

There is a sacred obligation that comes with that gift.  People who have been given someone’s trust need to recognize the importance and the honor associated with trust.  It is not something that can be taken lightly, and even though someone may not have asked for that trust, once they recognize they have been given someone’s trust they still have that obligation to respect and appreciate it.  Trust is very personal.  It is one of the ultimate of personal gifts.  For trust includes this component that intimate, private, sensitive, and very personal thoughts, ideas, emotions, and experiences can be safely shared.

That is why trust, when broken, has such a damaging effect on the people involved and on their relationship.  The closer the relationship, the greater the potential for someone to accept an apology for breaking that trust; but, that does not mean trust is fully restored.  It simply means that the party is willing to attempt to trust again.  For anyone who is really worth trusting, would never violate the trust of that person in the first place.  If they valued and recognized the power and obligation of that gift, arguably they would have appropriately cherished it in the first place.  Once broken, trust is never returned to its original state.  At best, it is returned to a manageable, yet damaged, and very wounded place.

As I think about my own dysfunctional family relationships and the issues of my children’s relationships, I feel the pain and disappointment of the loss.  I came up with the saying found at the beginning of this segment in the middle of my ride.  It simply captured all that I have been thinking about as it relates to Brandon and our family and for the families of other addicts.  Trust is a very important component of close, caring, supportive and loving relationships.  Trust is built up through time and experience.  Yet, it is very delicate and sensitive.  It only takes one or two hits before it is crushed and, potentially, destroyed.  Worse, it may take a lifetime to earn it back again.

Next time someone puts their trust in you, remember the obligation and the honor that comes with that.  They have given you a great gift –honor, respect and value it.

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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.