"I've failed over and over again in life. And that is why I succeed." ~ Michael JordanLet's go back in time to our past that compelled us to control, to blame ourselves and our children for their plummet and seek out any fix to put an end to our shared dire circumstances.
There we stood, marooned on Failure Island. Our lives had become shipwrecked. Life's winds had taken us off course although we had tried our best to stem the swelling tides surging around us. We soon found the waves of anger, sadness, belligerence, depression and discouragement to be too much for our little ships we believed to be seaworthy. We trusted years of parenting to the best of our ability would prevent the disease of addiction from entering our households.
We were wrong. Our lives were scuttled. We went then into survival mode but on our little islands we were alone, isolated (from the Latin insulatus - made into an island). We became the island, the rock jutting above a vast expanse created not by our children or even The Addiction but by our own making.
And a rock feels no pain - and an island never cries. ~ Paul Simon, "I Am A Rock"We experienced the feelings of failure owned only by parents of children who have stumbled into addiction. Until we owned our anger and disappointment, until we really felt it, we were unable to let it all go so we could again see our babies for the beautiful human beings they are. We remained marooned because that's exactly where we wanted to be at that time. It was an awful yet comfortable and painfully familiar place to exist.
Feelings are frightful. Escaping the tides and barriers of an island seems an impossibility. Until we allowed ourselves the revelation that our isolation was a losing proposition and a pathway to nowhere, to continuing rage, pathos and self destruction, we remained.
One day we saw a way off the island. We made the attempt. It may have required several efforts, the rip currents of our despondency pushing us back to the island again and again, and then perhaps, again.
But we eventually made it off Failure Island - exhausted.
Once we found the strength to breathe and reflect we made certain promises to ourselves. We vowed to never return to that island. We might visit via the Google Maps of our minds to reflect on where we had been and how damn far we'd come. It's ok, failures as parents are inevitable, but we can decide never again to distance ourselves from our children, family and friends by so immersing ourselves in our faults and foibles.
When we come to grips with our humanity, that we are REAL humans with real weaknesses and character flaws - remembering REAL is what we are striving for each day - we can shrug off the guilt and bitterness that kept us on that island for far too long.
Escaping Failure Island was an early first step on the pathway to loving our children and hating The Addiction - to live our lives to the fullest.
We can remember this when we feel ourselves drifting off course into melancholy and lose our bearing. Our true north is within us. Trust this and with our hands firmly on the helm our best adventures are just over that horizon.
"The only true failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows." ~ Buddha