Friday, April 1, 2016

When Addiction Strikes - Our Time to Shine as Parents ... Or, The Meaning of SHOWING UP

"Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing. ~ Albert Schweitzer
Life is full of cruel opportunities. We felt the full effect of this when our children succumbed to the disease of addiction. Many of us saw only one pathway and took it.

We accepted blame for our children's tumble. We controlled. We fixed - or thought we did. We handed our lives over to The Addiction. In essence we disappeared. We became the automaton of The Addiction, perpetuating our daughter's and son's subservience to the substance. We continuously insulted and downgraded our children's spirit as it slowly disappeared into the chasm of whatever drug or behavior had them hooked. We did for our children what they could and should have done for themselves. We stole their victories, failures and consequences. And as we watched our babies lose themselves in addiction's black hole we were right there with them, hopeless, invisible, dying.

Many of us accomplished this in cycles, disappearing and reappearing with a seeming purpose. We can remember also pulling our children from the brink. We got them clean in wilderness camps, therapeutic boarding schools, and inpatient and outpatient treatment. We saved our children's lives, a noble act for which many of them have yet to forgive us. No matter where our son's and daughter's journeys have taken them at this present crossroads in their journeys, this ingratitude is The Addiction speaking, hanging on, grappling for our babies' essences.
"... that stupid boot camp in the desert!"
Ultimately our paths diverged. It was inevitable, or must be. It is either this divergence occurs or we die, both parent and child. Living with our children in the muck, entangled within the thick hedgerow of addiction benefits neither of us.

One of us had to escape for both of us to have a chance of survival. It may as well have been us. It had to be us. Addiction's hold on our children is like a siren call forever luring them into a living nightmare of shipwreck after shipwreck.

Living for The Addiction with our children relegates our lives to an existence based on bitterness, anger and despair. There is no room in our hearts to love our addicts - ever. We can find no reason to separate him from The Addiction, her from the life she has fallen into. Showing up for ourselves makes us stronger, better than we have been for years.

As we emerged from our self-imposed dead zone we fought our tendencies to fix, control, cure and thus insult our children's intellect and ability to figure it out for themselves, whatever their it is. This would be the first of many counter intuitive awarenesses, a beam of sunshine breaking through the dense canopy of our personal cloud forest.
This might just be our opportunity to show up as parents. This might be our time to shine.
As parents of addicts SHOWING UP means living OUR lives to our fullest potential. Showing up in its truest sense is being as true to ourselves as we possibly can at this moment in time. Showing up allows us to be there for our children by being a beacon to a fulfilled existence, an example of what can be if our children would only accept the Universe' pathway to their best selves.

Showing up is one of those cruel opportunities. We are constantly fighting our reflexive proclivity to insert ourselves where we're not needed or wanted, to come charging in like a one-man, one-woman cavalry to free a soul unaware that any liberation is necessary - or worse, one that is just fine with the occupation.

Showing up as parents in this out-of-the-box way really does give us a chance to shine. No longer angry at everything we react less and are able to more often find love in our hearts for our children. We have more energy for ourselves and the slings and arrows The Addiction may throw our way. It is our time to rise above The Addiction and its hooks and barbs and become better than the embittered human beings we once were. It is our time to grow, to glow, to become who we were meant to be.

If we respect our right to live a fulfilled and rewarding life, to explore the pathways The Universe has prepared for all of us we also honor and acknowledge our children's capacity for change. They may see our new calm, our renewed lust for living and like that light we saw through the dark forest canopy they may reach out through the haze of The Addiction for some of what we've found.

When we show up and shine on for ourselves we become better parents for it. And brightening our lives just may become the sunrise to our children's new dawn.

Rise and shine parents!
... keep coming back
"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." ~ United States of America Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776