I sometimes forget that not everyone has had the challenges of a loved one struggling with addiction. At times I have the experience of hearing or reading about a parent who let their kids do something – like drink alcohol at home or drink while on vacation because they were in a country where that is acceptable. I quickly throw out judgment about this – ‘How could they do this? Isn’t it obvious that this is a bad decision for their child?’ and a lot of other opinions. While I may have a different perspective based on my journey, it does not make my way the only way. And not every teen that drinks before they are of legal age is going to become addicted. Yet knowing what I know now, I feel compelled to share the statistics and warnings just as if it were a pack of cigarette with the surgeon general’s warning. When I feel compelled to impart knowledge and information in an attempt to educate, I need to realize that this needs to be done in a way that is not passing judgment. I also need to realize that once I impart the knowledge, it may not make a difference. At that point, I need to let it go.
This is not always easy to do. While thinking of this post, I was reflecting on how my initial reactions can be harsh and judgmental. Yet when I take a moment and think about another person’s perspective and realize that I am just one perspective that may or may not relate to the other person, I then have to step back. I was discussing a situation like this with a friend and she mentioned that while it’s not good for teens to drink alcohol, many of them do and not everyone will become alcohol dependent. While I still have this drive to keep every teen safe from the potential of addiction, I cannot judge others and think that my way is the only way. For today I will continue compassionately and lovingly educating teens and their parents when an opportunity arises but I will do so without judgment.
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