I had a couple conversations with our daughter that did not sit right with me. I found myself “obsessing” over something she was struggling with recently. In the past I would have gone days or even weeks in the solo frenzy of searching for her answer. This time it was less than 24 hours. I shifted my thoughts to what I needed to acknowledge: I am powerless, my life was unmanageable, that I needed to be restored to sanity & to turn my will over to God (Steps 1, 2, & 3).
This intentional focus helped me recognize how my child was not the source of my emotional reaction. This overwhelming pain was connected to sympathy that was triggered by my daughter’s acknowledgment of her loneliness. As I continued to make sense of my feelings, thoughts & actions I remembered to apply the concept of H.O.W. Honesty allowed me to recognize my need of God. Openness to God restoring me to sanity by recognizing how my experience of sympathy was triggered by my fears attached to the past not caused by my daughter’s present experience. Willingness to “stay on my side of the street” by remembering loneliness is a normal human condition while directing my daughter to follow through on those options that will address her loneliness with her sponsor. I also intentionally applied actions of self-care. This process allowed me “To Let Go & Let God” for both my daughter’s situation & my needs.
At one time triggers would have been something I connected to an addict. I have come to understand, as parents of addicts in order to wisely respond rather than emotionally react we need to recognize & own our triggers. Spending time with other parents of addicts can give us the opportunity to become self-aware of the state of our emotions, thoughts, & actions. It is a safe place to be honest without fear of judgment or criticism allowing us to apply concepts like H.O.W.
Today’s Reminder: Being triggered is a natural response, for both my child & I. As I apply the concepts learned in my parent-to-parent group, I am reminded to refocus the attention to myself in order to have my sanity restored, sooner than later. This is how I live out “Let It Begin With Me.”
Diane M. Warshofsky, MACC, LMFT, LPC, NCC
You can listen to an audio of this devotional at our podcast A Dose of Hope.
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