This past weekend, I had the opportunity to share the stage with Barry Adkins at a Men’s Breakfast Group (expanded to include Women for this special event). At this “Parent’s Breakfast” Barry and I had the opportunity to share our respective stories as Dads who faced life changing adversity in their life and our responses and lessons to it.
Barry Adkins story can be found at Kevin’s Last Walk. Barry lost his eighteen year old son, Kevin, to a night of binge drinking while he was celebrating at a house warming party in the apartment he just moved into. Committed to not letting this tragedy be the end of the story and to make something positive of it, Barry walked his son’s ashes from Arizona to Montana – 1400 miles – while giving talks to churches, schools, treatment facilities along the way. His is a very powerful inspiring story.
As as fellow dad, I easily related to the love and commitment in his story. I often speak with and in front of countless parents confronted with the loss of a child to their addiction or an overdose. I have faced my own adversities associated with my son’s addiction. Even though I count myself as one of the fortunate ones not to have lost my son, the battle my son is in for his life offers its own painful experiences and lessons. Like Barry, I am committed that while I may not be able to save my son, I am committed to making sure something positive comes from my journey.
Between the two of us, we shared seven lessons for all parents, who are dealing with adversity and pain in their life:
- Whatever and wherever you are on your journey, you are not alone, you are never alone.
- It is not the adversity in your life that defines you, it is how you respond to it that defines your life.
- The person you need to forgive most is you; let go of that fear, guilt and judgement.
- Believe there is a lesson and an opportunity in the struggle and you will discover a path to follow to get you through it.
- Focus in what drives, inspires, and guides you in your life and put all your energy into those forces.
- Authenticity and vulnerability bring balance to your life – you are not alone and you cannot do this alone; ask for help and guidance.
- Give power to moving forward and walk past the distractions and interruptions and you will find yourself in a different place
Everyone is going through their own personal adversity in their life. Whatever is it, the path to a better outcome is not merely in enduring the storm but in finding the courage and the inspiration to look for the opportunity and the lesson in it.
“This is not the trip I signed up for; however, this is a journey designed specifically for me that I might learn from my experiences to educate, guide, and inspire others in the future.” ~ Dave Cooke
100Pedals has just released two new programs for parents. “Addiction and Parenting: Four Practical Rules to Live By” is a FREE audio segment that provides parents perspective for their approach for dealing with addiction in the family. To obtain your digital download click here. “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.