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Feeling Good When You're Supposed To Feel Bad
When all your tears and struggles and wallowing in fear and sadness are exhausted - and nothing has changed from all the worrying you've been doing - don't you think it's time to change the 'how' of how you're looking at your life, how you're living your life?
Worry will change nothing but you! Worry is insidious. It will taint everything in your life. It will rob you of the idea that anything good can come into your life. Worry is just trying to live in the future of what ifs!
Worry will make you feel like you don't deserve to feel anything different. This is especially true for parents of addicts! You go to sleep at night, exhausted because it's all you can think about. You're totally vested and absorbed by it and then, when you wake the next morning, it's all still there and all you feel is even more exhausted.
Even though you've been told you did not cause their addiction, you catch yourself still caught up in the blame game. You're secretly still trying to figure out your roll in the addiction. The questions, oh, the fucking questions that roll around in your brain.
What did I do?
What didn't I do?
What could I have done?
Why didn't I do this or that?
Why didn't I see it sooner?
...and then the trump questions -
WHY ME? WHY MY CHILD?
If you are the parent of an addict, you likely have these questions on speed dial in your brain. What's happened is that you have allowed your weaknesses to rule the nest all while abandoning your strengths because you're simply worn out by it all.
Pain, both physical and emotional, has a way of camouflaging all the good that could be. It colors everything. It seeps into all those little cracks in your heart, leaving you with the feeling that you're getting exactly what you deserve! GUESS WHAT? Just because you have an addicted child - you don't deserve any of that! Unless you put the needle in their arm, or you shoved that pill down their throat, or you spoon fed alcohol TO THEM - YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME! They made a bad choice and then got caught up in the game of addiction.
So, here's the thing. You can continue to beat yourself up, freak yourself out, cry, scream or yell all you want, but none it will help you or your addict one little bit. It's wasted energy and wasted time.
The truth is, we parents of addicts often come to the conclusion that we should be as miserable as they are! We should suffer and deprive ourselves of any semblance of happiness because our addict is not happy. Well, I'm here to tell you, right now, that's a crock of shit! I was you! I was there too - until I wasn't!
Giving away your power to have a happy life is a quilt thing. For me, I used to think, oh, if my friends saw me happy even though they knew I knew I could get 'that' call, that is was over, at any point in my daughter's addiction, I would look like a bad parent that just didn't care anymore about what happened to her. Oh yes, that fucking fear of being judged can be pretty damn powerful - until you stop it from holding any power over you!
I always care! I love daughter from the depths of my heart. It's just that now, after a shitload of healing work, I also care about me and my husband and my son and my work and my LIFE! I cannot make my daughter stop using (although at the time of writing this she is currently sober...again), but I can damn sure make myself un-addicted to her addiction.
I have lived with the truth of addiction everyday for the past fifteen years, BUT, it cannot control me anymore. I no longer think about rehab or drug testing because, why? What am I going to do about it? My daughter is an adult now. I've already done everything I can and it's never changed the situation so, now, you know what I do? Instead of buying that drug test, I take that money and get a mani-pedi. Sounds horrible to you? It's not horrible. It's called self-love, self-care, and it keeps me in the game of having a happy life despite all the collateral damage her addiction caused.
If she's ready to stay sober, hey, I will champion her all the way to the bank, but sobriety is on her, not me! I cannot control her, but I can sure as fuck control me!
Maybe it's time for you to pull back and put some of your energy back into fixing you! It's okay to feel what you feel, but if you stay there too long - you are responsible for the pain and sadness you're feeling. You don't have to lug around that ball and chain anymore. You have the option to find healing for yourself!
How do you that?
You start by letting go of the dreams you had for them because - they were your dreams - not theirs! When you accept that there is a 'new normal', and trust me, the old normal no longer exists anymore, you allow yourself to spread your own wings again. That doesn't mean you stop hoping that they will find healing and sobriety, it just releases you from a burden you should not be carrying around every day! Our children know we love them with all our heart. They already know all you've done for them by trying to fix or help them! In moment's when they experience clarity, that see all of that. They know your love in their heart of hearts. The bottom line, which they know is - the fix remains in their hands.
Maybe today you will give this some thought!
Maybe today you'll go get that mani-pedi or play a round of golf or take a nice, quiet, walk along the water's edge or splurge on a nice lunch with a friend!
Maybe today - you'll choose you again and start practicing self-care. There is nothing more healing than falling back in love with yourself. You can do it! I did! I have faith in you!
Like I always say - 'You cannot tow a broken car home if the tow truck is also broken!'