I have had many conversations with parents struggling to understand the choices their addicted child makes. The common thread in these conversations begins with declaration of exasperation, “I just don’t understand, how could they…?
The answer to this question is simple: You can’t make sense out of nonsense.
What we see as normal, appropriate, responsible, thoughtful, or intelligent is the result of our world view. This reflects who we are, where we are, what we have learned, and the space in which our relatively normal brain is operating from.
What we are witnessing in addicted child and their choices is a mind hijacked by an entirely different set of priorities. Until their brain has experienced an extended period of healing, it will always be susceptible to unpredictable and nonsensical choices.
Attempting to understand what seems to be stupid, illogical, or irresponsible is a waste of time and energy. You can’t make sense out of nonsense. An addicted mind doesn’t follow a normal or predictable thought pattern. It is focused on a priority only understood when one truly understands the power of addiction.
The addicted mind sees the world based on their truth and their reality. Just as we see the world based on our truth and our reality. As much as we believe in and defend our truth to them, they will also defend and believe in their own version of truth. In nutshell, they believe the lies they are telling themselves and others. There is little we are able to do to change this until they decide they are tired of believing their lies.
As frustrating and confusing as it can be, their choices are based on their realities, not yours. As it is their reality they are operating from, it will likely not make sense when you plug their decisions into your reality.
Instead of going through the mind numbing exercise of trying to understand or comprehend their decisions, or enter into a debate about choices or lifestyle, focus your energies on the real task at hand, managing what you have control over.
My priority is how my son receives and experiences my unconditional love for him. Regardless of where he is and how he chooses to live, he is still my son and I will always love him. It is my responsibility to make certain he experiences my love for him even when or if he does things that simply don’t make sense to me.
That he experiences my unconditional love, is up to me. What he does with that experience of love is up to him.
The rest is beyond my control and much of which will likely be way beyond my ability to understand or comprehend it, anyway.
You can’t make sense out of nonsense; but, you can love your child unconditionally, wherever they are and without judgment, criticism, or condemnation. Parenting an addicted child is a lot of hard work. I would encourage you to focus your efforts where you get the best return on effort – unconditional love – and less on something beyond your ability to grasp or change.
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I would love to hear from you. What issues are confronting you today? Where are you currently experiencing fear and shame relating to the struggles in your life? I have some pretty cool tools to guide you and would love to help. Please let me know: dave@100Pedals.com.
Dave Cooke is going on the Road! Learn more about this year’s cross county cycling trip from Charleston, SC to San Diego, CA at Cycling for Recovery 2017.