Talk about unoriginal! I must be the millionth parent who has stepped right into the trap of working their loved one’s recovery way harder than the loved one does.
There was a point in this process when I was desperate, when I didn’t know if I would ever see the door close behind me regarding drugs and all the chaos that go along with them. During that climb up the hill of trying so hard to make everything better, I HAD to share my feelings.
The first time being in the courtroom, thinking MY son was different, thinking that *I* had resources and experiences and education that the other parents didn’t have, and therefore *I* would be able to effect a different outcome for my son. (Poor little maroon, as Bugs would say.)
However true it may be that I have resources and experiences and education THAT lady over there doesn’t have, it’s really not about my resources, experiences and education, except from the point of view that I have to work MY OWN recovery using those resources, experiences, and education.
Then came the big R, REHAB. Again, you’ll excuse me if my optimism and naivete stayed intact during that process. I secretly thought that if I just said the right words, thought the right thoughts, provided the right provisions, asked the right askings, and boundaried the right boundaries, MY son would come into his own as the beautiful, talented, articulate man that he is.
All is not lost. I will not share the details at this time so as to protect the privacy of my family, which I haven’t really worked too hard to protect in the process of blogging. My purpose in writing today is to acknowledge that I had a “come to not Jesus” moment over the course of this past week when I really realized I am working WAY harder on this than my loved one is.
In seeking to discover what it means to respect his journey and his path, I have to be less “nice” than I am inclined to be. I have been picking up the slack in an area for him and told him last night that I would no longer do that thing, but that I would still be glad to help if he asked for it. He did not ask and the consequences were just as I expected they would be. (Maybe that’s another post in itself, looking at what I am expecting from him if I’m not there to guide his every step.)
The hardest thing in the world is to watch someone who doesn’t believe in themselves repeatedly reject offerings of love and opportunities for empowerment. And yet, that someone is in charge of their own life. I AM NOT IN CHARGE of anyone else’s life.
I am writing today partly to acknowledge myself for sticking to what I said I would[n’t] do. It is healthy for me to respect the person and allow them to walk their own path their own way.
This is an unsettled place to be for me, but I believe it is the right place to be.
Huh, upon closer examination, it looks like I am actually RAPPELLING off the mountain.
Yours very truly,
Ninja in Recovery
4 thoughts on “Thoughts from this side of Recovery”
What a journey you’re on, Susan. Thanks so much for continuing to share the ups, downs, AHA moments, and everything in between. Congratulations to you for knowing it’s okay to adjust your approach as the situation requires.
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Thank you so much, Deb. I appreciate the opportunity to learn by doing.
I have been on a similar journey, substituting mental illness for drug abuse. I think that the backstory we share of parenting a child with a disability sets us up for this: we did (and for you, still do) make a huge difference as we prodded and cajoled our disabled kids through therapies and small steps towards independence.
I worried about my oldest child’s physical safety constantly, but that was nothing compared to seeing her younger sibling struggle in situations that I cannot protect her from. I have to let her be a grownup and support her, not rush in and fix everything. Who am I kidding? If rushing in would work, I would still do it in a heartbeat. But my attempts to fix just keep her stuck in adolescence. It is tough.
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I hear you. It’s a difficult path to walk to recovery and to allow the person to walk their own path. They still need to do the dishes, get a job, and try adulting. I’m walking alongside but not holding their hand. Argh!
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