It seems like I sure opened a hornet’s nest with my last posting. I usually don’t get 26 comments to a posting but I am glad there was such good discussion and I hope everyone had a chance to go back and read all the comments.
I read everyone’s comments multiple times and see others having the same experience over and over and others that have moved past emotional attachment to their addicts. The question that begs an answer is;”What is right and what is wrong?” I don’t believe there is a hard fast rule in every situation. The variables are enormous in each family as to what is expected and how a person, the addict and the loved one can recover from a mistake of intentions.
I have also done some research on defining co-dependency. Those that know me personally would probably agree unanimously Dad does not in any way have a co-dependent personality. One of the best sites I found about defining and analyzing co-dependency is: http://www.nmha.org/go/codependency . Most that know me intimately would side that Dad has more of an “independency” problem.
Can the actions of another person or loved anger me? Yes, but in 30 minutes I’m back to having lunch with them. Why would I do that? Is it because I need them? No it is because I respect them and love them. I had an experience as a child that I learned a lesson from that has carried into being an adult. When I was in junior high my best friend and I had a fight, we didn’t speak for 3 years. What was it about, who knows, who cares. All I know for sure was that nothing was ever the same between us again. What I learned was anger and grudges hurt only the person experiencing the emotion. Can I be angry at my son for what he did and still be over it just as quick? Yep, in a heartbeat and it’s the same with hurt feelings, and disappointments.
For me the magic formula doesn’t involve 12 step meetings or some higher power. My personality is such that independence and self reflection is my go to place. That’s a hard lesson to learn in dealing with an addicted child. I don’t advocate my methodology or that answer for any one individual because I am a strong believer in the “whatever works for you” method of recovery for both the addict and the loved ones of addicts.
My belief in surviving this experience is to work very hard in learning from the daily experience of parenting an addict. A wise man once told me he had a goal in life to make only new mistakes. It has been 25 years since that discussion. At first, as a 30 year old guy trying to grab the world by the tail I didn’t think much about that way of thinking. My thinking was to make no mistakes. Make no mistakes??? Yea, you know how long that lasted. Then the wisdom of that goal sunk in and I made it a personal long term goal; the day I die I hope to be still working to achieve that goal.
So I will make more mistakes, undoubtedly. Plus I will continue to write about them. This is for my benefit and maybe others will learn from the experience too. That is not being arrogant. My experience is that I learn from others too, I don’t have to make the mistake to learn a new lesson.