“Any man can…decide what shall become of him – mentally and spiritually ~ Viktor E. Frankl
I have been reading “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl. If you are not familiar with Frankl’s story, his memoir was written about his lessons and experiences in a World War II concentration camp. Regardless of all the difficulties experienced in my life, nothing compares with Frankl’s life and death experiences. Despite this incredibly torturous existence, he offers the reader incredibly insightful perspectives for living our lives. Today’s quotes are from those writings.
As a parent with an addicted child I routinely struggled with the my choices and decisions relating to my son’s behaviors. I became so obsessed with his recovery – whether he was using or not or what “the right thing to do was” – that I ignored my own needs and lost complete control of my life. Even though I felt powerless to control or influence his life choices, I still did everything I could to manage them anyway. By constantly reacting to his addiction driven life, I unconsciously surrendered the ability to control the one thing I actually did have control over – my life.
I finally discovered how insane my behaviors were and the impact it was having on my life. With that realization I made some very clear decisions about how I was going to manage my life in the face of this adversity despite my son’s actions. It was not easy, but it was incredibly effective. What many outsiders see in the way I live my life today reflects the ultimate outcomes associated with my commitment. Not visible to most observers is the actual work over time involved to succeed in this mindset.
The first step in our recovery is to make that declaration that I am not powerless, I am not helpless, and I will not be a victim to the events that occur in my life. I will control what I have control over and I will let go of what I can’t and trust in those outcomes.
You are not powerless to live and celebrate the life you desire. You ARE powerless to make your children live the life you desire for them; even more so for a child with an addiction. While you will forever be connected to the lives of your children, there comes a point where you cannot attach the outcomes of their lives to how you live or enjoy yours. When you do this, you give them control over your life. When you let you child’s action define how you live your life, it makes no sense to act as though you don’t understand how your life has gotten out of control – you chose to lose control when you turned over authority for your life to their behaviors.
You have a choice. If you want to control and define the outcomes in your life, do it. Choose to the live the life you desire and make a commitment to embrace that path. It will not be easy, you will stumble and sometimes completely fail. When you are clear about your commitment and your outcomes for your life, you will move toward that destination and away from the drama, the chaos, and the disruptions. You are not helpless, powerless or a victim – you are in control. Take control over your life, turn over control of your child’s life to them, and avoid confusing the two. When you do this, you will find more strength and confidence in your decisions and your actions. Peace!
100Pedals has recently released two FREE programs for parents. (1) “Addiction and the Family: Four Guidelines to Embrace” is an audio program that provides parents perspective for dealing with addiction in the family. To obtain your digital download click here. (2) “Addiction Conversation” is a weekly podcast where Dave Cooke interviews parents, those in recovery, counselors, and legal experts to provide their perspectives from their experiences with addiction. To listen to an individual session click here or to download the podcast to I-Tunes click here.