“Adversity teaches us the lessons we are not willing to teach ourselves.”
In the midst of the emotional battle of a parent’s addiction journey, it is hard to hear the words, “there is opportunity in the chaos.” In reality, there is.
Any parent’s addiction battle is a particularly gripping and emotional one. For me, it was and is the greatest individual struggle of my life. But, it also was and continues to be the greatest gift in my life. It became a gift the minute I made a determination that I was not going to try to control the problem or change the person with the problem. It became a gift the moment I decided to change how I dealt with, responded to, and experienced the outcomes of my son’s addiction. It became a gift when I declared it is his addiction, not mine.
Your child’s addiction has changed you. It has taken you from a place where your dreams for your life and your child’s life became interrupted by a monster. It seized control of your world and turned it upside down. It took everything you believed and understood about love, trust, and hope and tore it apart. Now, it has taken over control of your life.
You have been changed – for the worse. It is now time to be changed for the better.
Breaking free from the grip of addiction means you cannot let the addiction take over your life, your priorities, your behaviors, and your expectations for someone else. You must set boundaries, define your rules, and take care of yourself. Without it, the addiction owns you, too.
Battling the addiction that exists in another person is a fruitless effort. The addiction is in control of your loved one and will only be stopped when your loved one makes that determination to fight to reclaim control of their life.
You are not the one with the addiction. You can choose to say “no” to that addiction at any time. If you haven’t it is likely because you feel a sense of commitment and obligation to helping that loved one fulfill the hopes and dreams you have for them. That is noble, honorable, and a wonderful, loving commitment; but, you cannot go down with the ship. In doing so, the addiction claims two lives. There are others who need you, love you, depend on you, and are blessed by your presence when you are on your game.
You cannot beat the monster within another. As long as you fight their monster, you are enabling the monster to break you down and destroy you – one painful, hurtful lesson after another.
You have been changed. You are forever changed. That change can take on a powerful and impactful tone the day you wake-up and embrace living an addiction free life. Addiction free means in taking control of your life, not fighting to be in control of someone else’s. You will be positively transformed the moment you say, I can’t live like this anymore and do exactly what you know you need to do to reclaim your life. You will never be free of the addiction as long as your loved one suffers with their disease; but, being addiction free means that addiction cannot and will not destroy you along the way.
There is tremendous opportunity for you to grow, evolve, and celebrate the hidden gifts in this difficult journey. It is a battle you didn’t sign-up for our volunteer to be part of. It is your battle just the same. I encourage you to fight the battle for your life, it is the most important battle out there. There is a gift in the outcome. And, it can only be uncovered by taking the necessary actions that will take you there.