It’s true that my daughter’s years of using also included years of lying, deception and trying to make me think I was going crazy. She was so effective in convincing me of what I wanted to hear, that I found myself buying into complete ridiculousness. When I look back at those times, I can hardly believe that I was so gullible, but I also have to remind myself that I desperately wanted to believe her. And I also have to remind myself that her lying and deception were simply symptoms of the disease I now know that she had. There was definitely a time that I thought I would never be able to trust her again. There had just been too much damage. Today I believe something different.
Perhaps one of the hardest parts of this recovery journey for us as a family is deciding to trust. I’ve heard that trust is like a House of Cards – easily demolished yet so hard to rebuild. In order to rebuild the trust, there have to be at least 2 cards. The one card represents my daughter’s willingness to be trustworthy and the other card represents my willingness to trust her. As scared as I am, I have to remind myself that the only way that she can possibly rebuild the trust between us is if I allow her to demonstrate that she can be trusted.
Even though I now accept that I cannot control her choices, her behavior or her recovery, I CAN choose when and how to extend those opportunities for her to demonstrate that she can be trusted again. I started with little things so that, if it didn’t work out well, I would not be devastated. I might send her to the grocery store to pick up a few things for me. I gave her a short list and $10, asking her to return the change and a receipt. If it fell through, I was only out $10, but more importantly, that helped me know that she was still pretty sick. If she kept the money, at least it wasn’t enough to really hurt herself with. But when it didn’t fall through, when she returned with the items on the list, my receipt, and the change, I found that it was one tiny step towards rebuilding trust in our relationship. It gave me an opportunity to affirm her and an opportunity for her to feel good about herself. Over time, I was able to work up to more meaningful, more risky opportunities for her to show me that she could be trusted, and in time, that has helped to heal our relationship tremendously!
Today’s Reminder: I will look for opportunities for my daughter to show me if she is well enough to be trusted with the next level of trust rebuilding in our relationship. If she can, great! If she can’t, I will fight the temptation to believe that I will never be able to trust her ever again. I will remind myself of the expression “progress, not perfection” and trust that, in good time, we will progress towards a trusting, sturdy new House of Cards built on mutual trust, love, and respect.
You can listen to an audio of this devotional at our podcast A Dose of Hope.
You do not have to walk this path alone. Parenting Through Addiction offers courses to teach you about what YOU can do to help your child as they begin their own path to recovery. We also offer various membership options so you can connect with other parents who are on their own journey to find serenity in the face of their child’s addiction. To learn more click here!