In life, I’m not a particularly controlling person. I don’t tend to believe that there is only one way to do things, but somehow, with our sons, I wanted to believe that there was ONE answer and that they simply needed to be willing to do things that one, very conventional way. It didn’t register to me that I was applying a kind of rigidity to that situation that I did not apply in any other area of my life. That should have been a clue, but I just couldn’t see it.
It’s true that almost all treatment programs teach and encourage those with the disease of addiction to follow a 12-step path to recovery. I know that there are millions of people who have benefitted from that path. And yet I also have come to know many people who choose alternatives to 12-step recovery with good results. I had to admit to myself that there could be many paths to recovery, just as there are many paths to the achievement of lots of other goals in life. Over time, I have come to appreciate that our sons must find their own path and walk it, claim it and revisit if it is working for them. I know that, in time, they may decide to reconsider 12-step programs if their methods don’t yield the desired results, but that remains to be seen.
We’ve all heard about people that choose alternative medicine routes to treating their cancer or other diseases. Not everyone chooses chemo, radiation, pharmaceuticals or other traditional approaches, and they have their own good reasons for choosing an alternative solution. Some choose naturopathic or nutritional solutions. We know that some with addiction seek out the services of a psychoanalyst, shaman, a priest, or a bodywork specialist. Some believe that Vision Quest experiences create an opportunity for a “return to self” that results in complete transformation and both emotional and spiritual healing. Others become deeply invested in taking care of the body by nurturing it faithfully with hydration, a very strict healthy diet, and a very strict exercise regimen — while taking care to never put anything toxic into their bodies again (including alcohol, illicit drugs or even traditional pharmaceuticals). Still, others find great comfort in a religious approach to recovery that is grounded in prayer, the study of spiritual texts, service to humanity and active engagement in a faith community.
While I’m pretty sure I would choose a conventional path for myself, I have come to believe that there could be many paths to recovery just like there are for other conditions.
Today’s Reminder: Just as I would struggle to accept a loved one’s decision to choose a non-conventional route to healing for cancer or any other condition, I know I must accept that my sons have the right to decide for themselves how to get well. I may not like it, but I will choose to remind myself of the ways in which I choose not to be rigid in other areas of my life and choose to apply that same patience and flexibility to our sons’ recovery as they seek to find the path that will work for them.
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!