This is a guest post by Cathy Taughinbaugh.
“You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.” – Joseph Campbell
Are you feeling overwhelmed because of your child’s drug abuse?
When we take the time to get the support we need, our outlook can feel so much brighter no matter what our children choose to do with their lives.
I’ve found an Al-Anon parent meeting that works for me. We often laugh at our meetings, which may seem strange to you. I’ve discover that if you don’t laugh and seek joy, you remain in that well of despair.
To listen, to talk and to learn how you can live a peaceful and serene life even if your child chooses a life of chaos is immeasurable.
Many come to meetings with paper and pencil in hand ready to write down all the things that will fix their addicted child. They are surprised when their paper is blank and they have nothing to write down. There are no easy answers.
Support groups, such as Al-Anon will not fix your child, but they will help you handle the emotional toll of addiction.
We can offer treatment, and there is always hope that our kids will take us up on our offer. Our addicted child may make the decision that they want to make a change.
It is excruciating, but this is their personal journey. We want to control their progress, but they will cross the bridge to recovery when they are ready.
What can you do in the meantime?
You can work on yourself. You can take steps to ensure that you will remain healthy and find some joy.
Here are some ideas on how to let the sunshine back in your life when you are feeling overwhelmed by addiction:
1) Attend a Parent’s Support Meeting.
Finding a parent’s support group that works for you may take some work, but it is a wonderful way to interact with other parents who have experienced addiction with their children. You will realize you are not alone. You can share and listen openly without feelings of shame. Al-Anon meetings are easy to find in every city, but there are others types of parent groups that may better fit your needs.
Even taking a walk on a regular basis can do wonders for relieving the stress of dealing with addiction. When you find an exercise plan that works for you and make it a regular part of your week. You will begin to feel better, stronger and more hopeful. Your focus will begin to change.
3) Talk to a Professional
If you are feeling excessively stressed, a counselor trained in addiction, can help to relieve your anxiety about your situation. An objective opinion can be a welcome help on even a short term basis. Just knowing you have someone to call if you need to can make a big difference. Get the support you need early on. Don’t wait until you are emotionally exhausted. Ask others for referrals and find someone you feel comfortable with.
4) Find Some Quiet Time
Sit quietly for a few moments each day. Find a comfortable spot in your home. Sit on a chair or on a cushion on the floor. Let your thoughts float by and don’t judge them. It will help to center your thoughts, and give you a chance to stop and focus on your breath. Your mind will welcome the short break. You will begin to access your inner thoughts. Sitting each day each day helps to make us feel happier. Try it and see if you don’t feel some relief.
5) Treat Yourself Well
Going to a movie, or getting together with friends can add a little fun in your life. It will make you feel better. Just the simple act of bringing in beautiful flowers can give you something to smile about. Take care of yourself and give yourself the loving care that you deserve. Don’t do it just once. Make it a regular part of your life. Treat yourself well and you will realize the benefits.
6) Write Down Your Feelings
Writing each day is a soothing way to express our feelings and get our thoughts down on paper. Find three things to be grateful for each day and write them down. Write about something positive that has happened in your life. You may find that making a goal of writing three pages a day gives you a clear starting and stopping point. Of course, you can add more when you feel the need.
7) Let Go of Trying to Control Your Child’s Disease
When you surrender and realize that your child’s addiction is out of your control, a huge burden is released. We realize that we cannot solve our children’s problems. We can love them, and we can support them in healthy ways. When our children take responsibility for their lives, they become stronger. They will become the person they were meant to be.
Find your sunshine again. You can have that good day you’ve been missing, one day at a time.
Cathy Taughinbaugh is a former teacher and mother of a crystal meth addict who has been in recovery for over 6 years. She writes on addiction, recovery and treatment at Treatment Talk.org. You can also follow her on Facebook at Treatment Talk and twitter @treatmenttalk.