The Winds of Change – Life lessons from a difficult journey

I was once asked by a friend, ‘What has changed with you since going through this experience with your daughters struggle with addiction?’ It is an interesting question because I can reel off quite of few quick thoughts, but as I think deeper about the question – it quiets me to reflect on the monumental overhaul that has taken place with me, my daughter, my family and even acquaintances in some ways. I have been humbled by this journey. I have learned so much about judgment and how incredibly unfair it is. When I hear of a situation that I may have judged in the past, I think different thoughts…I think about what the person may be going through or how hard it is or how I wish I could help in some way. I have also learned about compassion in the face of hurt and betrayal.
A person struggling with addiction does not want to steal, cheat and hurt the very ones that love them so dearly. They have a disease that robs their brain of logical thinking while active in the addiction, with the only cure to abstain and let the brain heal – this takes time, but it is possible. I’ve learned so many things that have changed me. I am grateful for the little things that happen in my daily life. I’m grateful when the day ends and my family is safe and healthy, I don’t fret about insignificant occurrences that I might have in the past – they simply aren’t important. But of all the things I have learned, the ones I treasure the most are to love unconditionally – I may not like some things that happen, but I still love the people in my life regardless. And to be grateful for all things big or small that happen in my life – I know the darkness that can descend and I choose to be grateful now for each moment of light.

To Judge or Not to Judge – when does passing judgment makes sense?

I have made a point of working hard to let go of judgment of other people. It is not easy. And sometimes judgment is good when you have to make certain decisions. For instance, if you are deciding whether to do business with someone, you need to make sure they are ethical and trustworthy. This requires understanding how this person behaves and passing judgment about that behavior. That is a reasonable type of judgment that we all must engage in. So when does judgment become unreasonable? Since my daughter is in recovery and is very mindful about whom she spends her time with, she must make assessments about whether someone is healthy for her to be around.
The other day she was mentioning someone who she connected with that had been someone she partied with a few years back before seeking recovery. I was instantly questioning her, ‘are you sure you should be talking to this person?’, ‘what if you are around them and they decide to use drugs?’  My questions came spewing out. Then I caught myself and realized I was not ‘minding my own business.’ It was still difficult for me to refrain from chiming in with a few words of caution. But I realized that I was projecting all of my fears to her. I then told her that who she connected with, hung out with was her decisions, not mine. Who am I to judge these young people? I have hopes that my daughter is not judged and prejudiced due to her past. I have hopes that she will be given a fair opportunity to show the responsible young woman she has become. I know I will continue to work on my judgment of others and be optimistic that others will not judge when it comes to me and my loved ones.

Learning gratitude – Life Lessons from a difficult journey

A friend once asked me, ‘What has changed with you since going through this experience with a loved ones struggle with addiction?’ It is an interesting question because I can reel off quite of few quick thoughts, but as I think deeper about the question – it quiets me to reflect on the monumental overhaul that has taken place with me, my daughter, my family and even acquaintances in some ways. I have been humbled by this journey. I have learned so much about judgment and how incredibly unfair it is. When I hear of a situation that I may have judged in the past, I think different thoughts…I think about what the person may be going through or how hard it is or how I wish I could help in some way. I have also learned about compassion in the face of hurt and betrayal.

 
A person struggling with addiction does not want to steal, cheat and hurt the very ones that love them so dearly. They have a disease that robs their brain of logical thinking while active in the addiction, with the only cure to abstain and let the brain heal – this takes time, but it is possible. I’ve learned so many things that have changed me. I am grateful for the little things that happen in my daily life. I’m grateful when the day ends and my family is safe and healthy, I don’t fret about insignificant things that I may have in the past – they simply aren’t important. But of all the things I have learned, the ones I treasure the most are:

 
To love unconditionally – I may not like some things that happen, but I still love the people in my life regardless.
To be grateful for all things big or small that happen in my life – I know the darkness that can descend and I choose to be grateful now for each moment of light.