Sometimes I hear counselors or other parents talk about things that are early warning signs that indicate higher-than-average risk for addiction drugs or alcohol. I immediately go into negative-self-talk-mode, chastising myself, ruminating on the questions “What did I miss? Why couldn’t I see this coming?!” This is a pattern for me that I have gotten better at interrupting, but even now I fall into that trap that has no good answers.
As part of my own recovery, I have had to learn how to extend a little grace and forgiveness to myself by reminding myself that, all along the parenting journey, I really was doing the best I could at the time. Today I have more tools, more information, more understanding and more appreciation of the complexity of the disease of addiction. I know now that it is a lot more complex than whether or not I spanked, whether or not I enabled, whether or not I got her help too soon or too late. I know that it is definitely not too late for my son to learn about addiction and learn how to recover, and it’s not too late for me to learn about my co-dependency and learn how to recover. So there is still hope for us all!
In the same way as always, I am STILL doing the best I can. I’m sure I will look back years from now and see ways that I could have handled these times differently, but hopefully, I’ll be kinder to myself then because of what I have learned. And when I hear other parents describing ways they cannot help themselves from enabling, I have to remind myself that they TOO are doing the best they can with the information, tools and understanding they currently have. Part of my “new normal” can be to lovingly share my own experience, strength and hope with those parents who are earlier on their journey than am I.
Today’s Reminder: Today I will strive to just “do the next right thing” and have compassion for myself and others for the times when we really didn’t know what that was. If I find myself falling into that “trap with no good answers” of second-guessing my past decisions as a parent, I will remind myself of how grateful I am every time my son makes recovery-focused decisions now, regardless of the addiction-focused decisions he made in the past. Together we are learning a new way to live – one day at a time.
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!