Originally published May 26, 2020
The affects of addictions on parents.
So many questions asked…
Where do I go? What can I do? Why is this so hard?
My son/daughter is smoking pot, wants to use drugs, party and doesn’t listen to me, doesn’t respect me.
My child has anxiety, has depression…what can I do to help them? How do I help them without losing myself? Where do I fall? How can I not fail them?
First of all, lets talk about what it is that your child is going through. What is happening to them? Are we aware of what is going on? Do we communicate? Verbally, non-verbally? What works? What doesn’t work?
Does your child withdraw? Does your child lie to you? Is your child motivated?
Have you gone to the doctor for them? Have you had your child take prescription medication?
What do you want to see happen for your child?
A lot of questions. But in reality, that is what goes through our minds when it comes to our children. How can we help them? What is working? Why won’t they listen to me? What am I doing wrong?
Now let’s talk about us.
What have we done? What have we tried? What are we willing to do for them?
How can I keep going when I am trying to keep all the balls in the air? I feel like I can’t seem to keep it together. I’m exhausted, frustrated and frankly I’m drowning…but how can I help my child? I feel like I can’t breathe.
I’m losing faith in the system to help my child. I’m losing my footing with my child. What relationship do I really have with them? How am I failing? What could I have done differently? What can I do now?
I went through a divorce in 2009. Was left to raise two teenage boys on my own. My experience of living with an alcoholic became my boys’ living with the same alcoholic. So many things that happened, so many situations occurred that I wish I could erase from my children’s memories.
As their connection to moving forward, I did my best with what I had. I experienced hard times as a single parent, reverted to a frightened teen myself in moments and other times became the champion of advocating for my boys when it was needed.
However, this was exhausting to do on my own. There were times I would cry myself to sleep. There were times I would really just be going through the motions of life. I hid away, withdrew from friends and started to live by the stories I was telling myself in my brain. Was this my life? And then, to add more to my already over the top plate, more addiction and chaos entered my life.
Did I see it coming? Could I have prevented it? What else could I have possibly done? Did I do my best?
Graduation, breakup of family, legal situations, starting a new job in the midst of this chaos only to feel like a failure as all the balls of my life were starting to fall. My mental health was starting to take a hit. Where could I go to get help? Who could I reach out to? Am I the only person in this world who felt this way? Nowhere to go. Lost one of my sons because of the chaos. Lost another due to his chaos. Now I’m lost…I used to marvel at how far I had come as a single parent. I would preach that I was ok and doing fabulously.
One Easter night, I suddenly felt like the worst parent. Where did I go wrong? How could I fix all of this? How could I help my boys? How could I make sense of all that was going on?
By the age of 43 I made a decision based on all of this going on in my crazy life. Changes had been made, moves had been made. I decided it was time to go back to school. I wanted to learn about how I could help others going through all of this crap. I wanted to help other parents understand that we are not crazy. I wanted to show other parents that we can come out the other end, scarred, bruised and maybe even broken but we could come out the other side. I wanted to show other parents how to model and make change of the shit that we have to wade through to make us better parents.
I have been seated in a very similar chair as you. I have asked myself the same questions you may have asked or am asking yourselves today or every day. And I am here to share tools to not only help you manage through the chaos but to help you experience the calm to not only help you but to help your child.
I believe we all have the answers, but sometimes it takes someone to help draw out the questions to get those answers. I believe in asking the hard questions, I believe in sitting in the shit, in the discomfort. It’s hard and unbearable and I know I wanted to quit. I would yell out this is utter ‘BULL SHIT’, I’m DONE! However, this is the only place that shows us, showed me, the truth and allows us to engage our awareness and finally make the hard choices needed.
I have experienced loss and grief in many areas of my life and understand what we, as parents, have to lose.
By no means will I tell you what to do, but I will give you roadways into your minds and hearts that will pull out what you may already know but might be afraid to take out.
I am a proud parent of two amazing boys, a parent who went through hell and came out the other side. A woman who is still learning her way in life but definitely does life differently. The biggest reward has been watching my boys through a different lens created my me. I created my opportunity to make the change and allowed myself to be curious enough and strong enough and brave enough to move through my own pain, my own shit and change my understanding so I can be of better support to those who need it. So I can be a better mom, a better woman. My acquired skills are not for me. They are for the greater good.
I have finally allowed myself to be the beauty I see.