On Loving An Addicted Child
by Jacqui Brown
When our children are babies, we learn how to love and nurture them.
We learn how to fill their needs.
We learn to protect them, always keeping them out of harms way.
We help them learn to walk.
We help them learn to talk.
We teach them to chew their food so they don’t choke.
We read to them to expand their world.
We sing to them to lull them to sleep or make them smile.
We begin to build our dream chest for them right from birth.
Life always begins with the assumption of greatness!
We push them in school.
We help them with homework.
We become their very own personal cheering section.
We teach them to look both ways when crossing the street.
We teach them to eat healthy.
We teach them to not talk to strangers.
We teach them why they should wear helmets so they won’t get hurt.
We help them develop friendships.
We teach them how to set standards for themselves.
We teach them morals and good ethics.
We teach them about love and loving.
We teach them to respect others and to respect themselves.
We give them our heart and soul.
We give the commitment of unconditional love.
We forgive them their mistakes.
We set rules.
And then they grow up!
We stand back and watch them shed the cocoon we created.
We watch in awe as they step towards their life.
We have given them the tools by which to live.
what happens when what they choose leads them to a life no one expected?
They get so caught up in it, you end up crashing emotionally every waking moment.
Every dream shatters!
Hearts are broken!
Life is no longer ‘normal’!
Fear sets in like your new best friend!
Every thought centers on life and death!
YOUR LIFE STOPS!
Everything comes to a screeching halt!
You become just as broken as they are!
Nothing makes sense anymore!
You want to hide because you can no longer run!
You’re worn out!
Too many secrets!
Too many fears!
Too many judgments!
Too many days and nights wondering if they will survive!
If you will survive!
You make their choices your burden and you become a shell of what you used to be!
You simply stop being yourself in devoting yourself to their salvation.
If you fail to recognize the one BIG thing that can turn you back into YOU, you will never recover, you will forever be broken.
When you fail to recognize that it is THEIR LIFE not yours that is broken, you will never be able to get back up from your trembling knees.
It becomes a lose, lose, game!
No one wins when the glass is shattered everywhere!
For those who have been dealing with this day in and day out, year after year, please understand that you must finally accept that you are merely a bystander in your addict’s life!
Matters of the heart are extremely devastating when it comes to our children.
Yes, we love them heart and soul!
Yes, we desire for them a life that is not always threatening!
Yes, we want them stop what they’re doing!
Yes, we want their own life back and we want our own life back!
until you are willing to let YOUR old dreams for them go…because their new normal will never match what you once held for them in your heart…
until you are willing to understand that you can no longer make their choices for them…
until you are willing to lengthen that leash as they move forward in their life, with their choices, with an outcome unknown…
YOU WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO HEAL YOURSELF!
When you finally understand that they are –
NOT DOING THIS TO HURT YOU PERSONALLY…
NOT DOING THIS TO RUIN EVERYTHING that makes you happy…
NOT DOING THIS TO DESTROY YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY…
NOT DOING THIS TO WREAK FINANCIAL RUIN ON YOU…
…you can then finally allow yourself to say out loud…ENOUGH!
It is your God given right to say that!
You cannot control everything nor can you fix everything no matter how hard you try, no matter how many sacrifices you make!
You MUST understand that, although it may feel like they want you down there in the trenches with them…
just as down and hopeless as they are…
THAT. WAS. NEVER. THEIR. PLAN!
YOU JUMPED ON THAT TRAIN AND TOOK THAT RIDE WITH THEM!
The idea of you being just as down and out as they are has never crossed their mind!
Addiction is a very selfish game!
If you allow yourself to become a prisoner to it because you opened the door rather than looking in through the window, YOU have put yourself behind the bars…not them!
It is a disease, just as cancer is!
It needs to be worked out methodically!
You need to start seeing it as a math equation!
Do this, add that, subtract that, it will equal this!
It sounds simple, yes!
But, when you learn to reign in your emotions and work from a problem solving method, you WILL start to see bits of your life coming back to you!
When the idea that only they can change their path finally sinks into your thinking, you will suddenly see shards of freedom coming back into your life!
Yes, it will always make you sad!
Yes, it will always hurt!
Thing is though…
YOU. DESERVE. YOUR. OWN. LIFE. TOO!
YOU NEED TO STOP BEING BROKEN BECAUSE THAT WILL NEVER FIX ANYTHING!
You need to jump back into your own life!
YOU need to do the things you love…
the things that bring you great joy…
the things that take that tremble out of your knees!
Your addict knows to their very core that you love them.
You instilled that a long time ago!
Your only job now is to ensure them that you love them as the child they used to be!
That you hope they too can see whatever dreams they had are still there waiting for them to be chased!
To ensure them that through treatment they can come back to that dreaming child!
That is all you can do!
THE REST IS UP TO THEM!
Get back into your own life!
You deserve it!