It is absolutely paralyzing to learn that your child has substance abuse issues. Where do you turn for help? How do you know what steps to take? What is addiction, anyway? There are endless questions and no consolidation source of answers or support. In addition, the stigma of having an addicted child causes many parents to retract and withdraw rather than seek help. In truth, many families struggle with substance abuse issues, and the support, wisdom and guidance they need are not easily found.Parent Pathway was created for parents, by parents, to provide a place to find peace of mind at a time when their world feels like it is falling apart.
A while back, Interventionist and Family Counselor Ricki Townsend sent a powerful e-mail to some of her friends after reading Wayne Dyer’s children’s book, No Excuses. Ricki wrote, “We must remind ourselves and our children that they can become anything THEY want to be at any time in their lives. Too often, we start to get in the muck with them instead of surrounding them with love and light and the possibilities of who they can be. I love this children’s book because it prompted me to remember that I need to hold that vision for our children when they are forgetting it. The journey is THEIR choice to make. They must want the new improved life for themselves more than we do. No, it doesn’t happen overnight, but with each step they can grow, head in the right direction and find peace.”
Thanks, Ricki, for sharing your wisdom on this critical point. Note to self: keep out of the muck, stay out of the way, leave it up to my son to learn what it’s like to be dirty—or clean; to be addicted—or to be free.
After all, that decision is his to make, as are all the decisions he needs to make as a young adult. And I can’t be more committed to his recovery than he is. Epiphany! My powerlessness is really a gift to him, and to me. It frees me, and it puts the burden of responsibility on him, where it rightfully belongs. That’s a journey towards health that I can lovingly support.
I’ve written previously about Saving Jake, When Addiction Hits Home, a new book by mother D’Anne Burwell. As she points out, there are blessings to be found along the way…gems amidst the rubble, gold forged by fire. Read her eloquent explanation of the gratitude she discovered on her treacherous journey:
”I’ve never been the same since I discovered my son was addicted to drugs. Have I learned more than I suffered? Certainly fear, dread, denial, anger and guilt turned me into someone I barely recognized. Still, as I discovered words to live by, people to support and guide me, love to fuel me, I evolved into someone new, more even-tempered, more empathetic, clearer about boundaries, certainly less intense, less judgmental. I’m crystal clear about what matters to me now: relationships, intimacy, mostly, love, and family. Growth might have happened another way but this difficulty has enriched me – it’s the fight that caused the transformation. Strangely, I wouldn’t exchange those dark years for anything. They made our family who we are, more connected, more respectful, more humble, mote autonomous, much healthier than we would have been. The surprise is that I’ve ended up grateful for the experiences I would have done anything to avoid.”
If you happen to live in the Palo Alto area, D’Anne will be speaking there this Thursday morning. Here are the details:
Thursday, October 22, 2015, 10:00 – 11:30 am
M-A Performing Arts Center (PAC) Cafe
Menlo-Atherton High School
555 Middlefield Road, Atherton CA 94027
Register here: http://www.savingjake2015ma.eventbrite.com
D’Anne Burwell, local author of the newly released memoir, Saving Jake: When Addiction Hits Home, shares her heartbreak, hope and lessons learned when things fall apart. Her powerful personal story—a family grappling with a teenaged son’s drug addiction—transcends addiction and speaks to us all. Join us to listen to D’Anne’s story of experience, strength and hope. D’Anne Burwell holds a Master’s degree in education and advocates for families of addicts through radio commentaries, parent mentoring, speaking engagements, and her resource-and-information website, www.ASKforfamilyrecovery.com. She organized the first screening in Northern California of The Anonymous People, and her radio commentaries have appeared on the Perspectives series on KQED/NPR. The mother of two young adults, D’Anne Burwell lives with her husband in Silicon Valley.
“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.”