I’ve thought a lot about hope because it is such an essential part of recovery for all. I first felt a stirring of hope when our son cried out for rehab. Finally, a glimmer of light leading out of the madness. I began to tally up the days of his sobriety, mistakenly believing that we’d reach a magic number at some point and our son would be miraculously and permanently healed. I don’t know if that was hope or ignorance, but it kept me going through some very dark days.
At the same time, misplaced hope can impede recovery because it drives us to take unreasonable action. Because we hope against hope that our children are cured. We write the check for the apartment instead of Sober Living. We hope they have seen the error of their ways and will resolve to change course this time, once and for all. This time they really really really mean it, so we lend them money again. We hope, above all, that the sheer force of our love for them will give them the strength and conviction to resist drugs or alcohol. If only it were that simple.
Our hope for their recovery leads us to make mistakes: to rent that apartment for them, to pay their bills until they get back on their feet. Misplaced hope can make it easier for our kids to stay sick than to get healthy.
Most of all, our children need hope for brighter days. We give them that gift when we honestly and realistically take action that underpins their recovery instead of their substance abuse.