“Playing Stupid” vs. Tolerating the Test of Time

It is true that my son can choose to be actively engaged in treatment while, behind that smokescreen, he’s still engaged in all the same old behaviors. I have fallen into the Spy Game again because I need to get some evidence that my instincts are correct, but now I’m just furious! Here I am, running him to IOP meetings and AA meetings, while he’s still wheeling and dealing in the drug trade. It feels like I’m supposed to “play stupid” because I’m not supposed to know what he’s up to – even though I know I can’t control his decisions or his actions.

I’ve learned in my parent meetings about Tolerating the Test of Time when my confidence wains. I have learned that, if I can tolerate the waiting, my son’s recovery or drug use will eventually result in a clear outcome. I want to believe that he’s serious about recovery, but I’ve learned that the truth will be revealed if I just “keep in my lane.” I try to focus on my recovery and expect him to do the same. There have been times that we thought he was doing really well, and then later we found out he was using all that time. There have been times that we thought he was still full of lies and deception, only to discover that he was actually telling the truth!

One of the most helpful parts of my own recovery is “open” 12-step meetings. I hear stories from people with years of recovery who are telling stories of treatment and how they lied to, manipulated, stole from and generally lacked gratitude for all the ways their parents had helped them over the years. But they also tell stories of hope – of their years of sobriety and recovery  — of their gratitude for their parents’ eventual willingness to set and hold firm boundaries with them. They say things like, “it took my parents finally kicking me out for me to decide to do something different. And I’m so glad they did! I was killing them!”

So I know that I can Tolerate the Test of Time without having to play stupid. I can honestly share my concerns with my son while still encouraging his recovery because I know that I have given him the gift of a recovery education. He knows what to do, where to go, and what to ask for. Now it is up to him to actually do that. Perhaps he’ll experience a Moment of Clarity in one of his groups or meetings. And in the meantime, I will strive for patience.

Today’s Reminder:  I know that the truth of either recovery or active addiction is always revealed in good time. I can strive for consistent patience, willingness to kindly share my observations with my son without strings, and strive to take care of myself. More will be revealed.

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!