We finally did it. We got away for a weekend. Just the two of us. It is hard to describe how big an accomplishment that is! Our counselor had been trying to get us to take regular date nights and not talk about our daughter, or her addiction, and it took us about 6 months to be willing to do that for the first time. It was like when they were babies! I remember when we didn’t want to leave them with anyone, and when we finally did, it seems like they were all we could talk about. That was before the age of smartphones, nanny cams and Skype, so when we went out, we were completely unplugged! How did we ever do that then!
Well now, the challenge is the same but different. Now there is no babysitter to call to check on her and the stakes are so much higher than they were then. There have been times that we were scared to go out because we worried that our daughter might have a boy over – or 100 of her closest, wildest friends – or no one at all (so she could use as much as she wanted with no one to get in her way). But there were also times that we were afraid that she would steal something or afraid that we might come back and find her overdosed. Those things never happened, but then again, we never went anywhere! We were like prisoners in our home. This was one of those all-or-nothing patterns of thinking and behaving that we were learning from our daughter (even though we didn’t know it at the time).
Once we found that we could go out without coming back to find the place on fire, then we started considering the idea of a weekend getaway. We weren’t ready to do it yet, but even the exploration, the dreaming, the planning of where we could go, what we could do, all of that — was incredibly exciting! The cool thing is that, when we started talking to our daughter about how restricted we felt because of her behavior, some wheels started turning for her. Sure, she was angry at first and screamed that we were blaming her for our marital problems. But that got us thinking too. We realized that we had stopped nurturing our marriage a long time ago, and if our marriage is going to survive her addiction, we’re going to have to take responsibility for doing something about it. We told her that later, and she apologized and let us know how important it is to her that we stay together.
So here we are, on that first weekend get-away — as husband and wife. Because of practicing on those date nights, we have been able to not talk about her too much (but I am, after all, writing this reflection, so I’m not completely detached ;-)). I know these are important times for me and my spouse, and I’m determined to keep up the momentum.
Today’s Reminder: I will make a point of having a conversation with my spouse about our life together — our work, our dreams, our next weekend getaway, our next date night. I will strive to show my spouse love in the ways that matter.
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!