"Every saint has a past. Every sinner has a future." ~ Oscar WildeWe've all heard about addiction being a family THING. It took me a while to accept this. It took a lot longer for me to embrace the concept. In some families certain behaviors, tendencies and compulsions run deep like a toxic vein of pure lead perpetually filling the cracks in the rock face of our character and the inherited personalities of our children.
Sometimes, not always, but sometimes, looking back, we can perceive addiction as being a footnote in the fine print of our children's job descriptions. It's that 0.1 percent variation in the genome that is what makes each one of us, well, each one of us. It's the nature half of the nature AND nurture equation.
Each day, every hour, minute by minute opportunities are laid across our pathways to make decisions that directly effect our lives, our journeys. We've all been pre-programmed to a certain extent by our life experiences. For many of us the computer programming of our childhood and early adulthood has served us well in our quest for a complete life, with or without The Addiction element thrown in. For most of us, our early roadmaps in our recovery journey unfortunately led to confrontation and a tendency to internalize every single barb The Addiction would implant in our souls to pull us into its vortex with our children.
We thought we were winning the battle. It was a lie we told ourselves because society, our birth families all reinforced it. The lie was, "Addiction is a weakness. You can fix him. You can control The Addiction within her. Relinquish your life for this noble cause."
Almost 3 years to the day of this writing I posted a few thoughts on what it feels like sometimes to be a parent of an addict who is actively engaged with her or his addiction or who is in the midst of the arduous journey of recovery. It might be worth revisiting now.
https://myparentdepot.blogspot.com/2015/04/repairers-of-breach.htmlDo we enjoy the conflict, the battle with The Addiction? I am convinced some people relish a constant state of discord. Are we so pre-programmed? Even knowing the results of trying to control and fix and cure are a stalemate at best and, more probably, a further dive into the abyss with The Addiction, we continue on the pathway we have been led to by our parents, society and misguided social mores.
How strong are the chains that bind us, motivating us to blindly travel down pathways we know lead nowhere? How strong do we want them to be? Looking back at the post from 2015, repairers of the breach do not look outward for a solution. They look inward to see what makes us walk those mindless pathways to which we have become so accustomed. Instead, we can, link by link, begin to break the chains that have only fed The Addiction's insatiable appetite for conflict and misery.
It's a long process, breaking the chains. It's so counter to our previously learned behavior we may become physically ill, we may cry, we certainly may doubt the wisdom of pursuing a new way of life. But as we continue on this barely discernible pathway, as we concentrate on each footfall we make on this most difficult and technical of trails, we will emerge out of the darkness into a brilliantly blinding light of Life, Love and Laughter. We will have a new capacity to love ourselves and cherish our children while hating The Addiction that has chained them to a life they do not want.
Chain breaking is hard. Think back on the images from books and movies of escaped convicts dislodging themselves from their shackles. It's a great analogy. To break the chains we must first make that terrifying DECISION to escape from the prison of The Addiction and then, using whatever means possible, strike the leg irons we have fashioned until they shatter. This is as painful and bloody a process as we could ever imagine, an undertaking that can require weeks, months, or even years to complete.
When we have finally been released from the generational, familial and societal chains that have bound us for so long, the transition to life on the outside can be difficult. It's not easy living in a new way, even though the pathways may be beautiful, wide and sunny. Trust the signposts along the way. Do not be mislead by the distractions The Addiction WILL lay across the road. You may not notice the change within you but others will, including your child who may or may not have realized there is a life for them outside of the world created by their addictions. You will become a signpost for your child, your son, your daughter, as he or she realizes you are no longer engaging with The Addiction. He will not recognize you at first as he travels down the murky, miry bog of The Addiction. Eventually, she will see the remnants of your release from the chains - the rock, the shackles, fetters, your bloodied and bruised legs and arms. They WILL see the pain you went through for YOU, and ultimately for them.
They may not recognize you at first, it's been a while.
Go ahead, introduce yourself. Give it time. It'll be OK.
"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." ~ Nelson Mandela