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.
When I hear the word ‘serenity’ I often think of a quiet moment alone preferably somewhere in nature. Yet serenity comes to us in many different ways. The definition of serenity is ‘the state of being calm, peaceful, untroubled.’ As a parent who has been on a journey of having a loved one struggle with addiction and has a quest to gain serenity I am very aware that serenity can be an elusive foe. What looks like serenity to me may not work for someone else. One of the ways that I seek serenity is through outdoor activity. A long run puts me in a place that is very calming. I relax and concentrate on the moment. The farther I run, the more my troubles melt away as if I am leaving them behind. While this sometimes may only result in serenity while on my run, it is a welcomed respite when I am struggling to detach from what is bogging me down.
Everyone has their own image of what serenity means to them and how they work to get there. As parents we have a tendency to take our children’s troubles and worry about them. While we may not be able to get to a place where we are free of worrying about our loved ones, we can get to a place where we have moments of serenity. It’s important to think of how you can release yourself and enjoy moments of serenity. This may be having a cup of tea with a friend, going for a walk, baking, golfing, the list is very long and all depends on your interests. You might start out with a short activity and then increase over time. Trading your stress for serenity will lead to feeling healthy. We all know that stress causes so many conditions to our physical body, our mood and our behavior. By working on your serenity it will not only help you cope with difficult challenges in your life, it will also help you feel better and be more present in your life.
The month’s Guest Blogger, A Dad’s Road to Recovery, features a 3-part series. This is Part 3.
Each time my son was arrested, jailed, and released, I had to remember what the rooms of Al-Anon had taught me. I had to hold my son accountable for his actions and not try to rescue him for that was the only way he could learn what addiction was doing to him. It was difficult but not impossible to file a police report each time and watch the felonies stack up. I knew my actions were going to alter his life and take his freedom away but I knew in my own heart it was what had to be done. I learned to accept the concept of letting go after about 6 months in the program. As a father it was difficult to accept the fact I could not fix him and when that acceptance occurred – the doors of my recovery began for the first time to swing open. It was this event that provided me with the motivation to seek out a sponsor and work the steps. When you work the steps it puts you in a whole new dimension and you begin to develop a new thought process. You realize that the only real power you have is over yourself. When I truly understood that I was able to get out of my son’s way and allow him the honor and dignity to determine his own destiny, I knew the hope I had in my heart might lead my son down a different path someday and into his own recovery. But I must stay out of his way – which I continue to do to this day.
Will this ever end? I don’t really know. Only my higher power knows and only my son’s higher power can get him clean. I do know that as long as I have this program, show up to as many meetings as I can, continue to work the steps, and give back via service, I have a shot at not letting all the insanity of the past make me an inferior person. I use the Alanon program to keep my head on straight and get the most I can out of life so that I may enjoy the future.