Thursday, February 3, 2011

Answers and Questions

No this isn't Jeopardy, although I do like that game show.

This is for all of us "fix it" parents.

Yesterday someone wrote a short little posting about her son that was 10 lines on her blog. I proceeded to write 29 lines of comment that was as clear as mud. I am so glad she questioned me for more explanation and I proceeded to write another 30 lines explaining my first comment. That was so valuable for me, it reminded me that fixing something is not always a solution. Also, brevity has never been my strongest trait.

Problem solving is one of our highest values as fix it people. We were trained to solve problems in school we carried skill that into our life and then in our career we find ourselves enrolled in multiple seminars and classes to enhance our problem solving. Eager to demonstrate our skill and mastery we jump at the chance to solve problems, not just our own but others problems too. This is noble, we do these things with the best of intentions. Never ever stopping to consider the consequences of our actions.

Eventually we get to the point that when we don't have enough problems to solve we look for problems. Our life evolves into one of endless crisis and rescue. At some point even "fix it" people tire of the treadmill. How do you get off the merry-go-round?

As this relates to my son and his addiction even dumb old me began to realize my son was asking for answers and solutions because he had no learning, experience or desire to solve the problems facing him. All of his life I had been his answer person. I solved all the problems no matter if it was him when he was addicted or before he was an addict. I had been robbing him of his learning and life experience in an effort to make, "our kids have it better than us."

It's hard for us "fix it" people to look beyond answers and solutions. Answers and solutions are so easy for us. What's much harder for us, but more rewarding for everyone when we think about and ask the right questions. We have to learn to move past the "what" questions that will solve the problem or crisis to the more important "why" question. Why do we have this issue facing us, why is the help being ask, why do others not have the skill or knowledge to solve this problem. The "why" question is the question that enables learning and allows everyone to grow.

Took me a long time to figure out there are consequences for me by solving problems and assuming the role of Mr. Fix It. For many years I have quoted a line I heard someplace and have no idea to whom to give credit but I now understand its meaning and I don't just quote it in jest; "No good deed goes unpunished."


Annette said...

This is so true. I have had that realization too....I did everything and my kids didn't have to learn how to manage. I ultimately did them a HUGE disservice by taking such good care of them. I have learned to step back and let them figure their own stuff out...but I still catch myself wanting to run to the rescue with what I think would be *the* answer. It is a process...but just that we are aware is such huge progress.

Gledwood said...

You appreciate the double-meaning in fix it.

Drugs are a quick fix. The quicker the fix the more addictive the drug.

I heard someone in NA explaining how he had to learn patience with regard to his bad emotions. I thought "you know what you're talking about."

When I was about 2-years dirty somebody I made friends with almost by accident explained "Consequences" to me. You have to bear in mind at this point I thought being "sick" was a sign I needed to take heroin!

I was able to turn it on its head in rehab type situations, telling myself "withdrawal symptoms mean the addiction is LEAVING YOU, you only need go through them once" (these were withdrawals on 10-day methadone taper)

I wish I could put all this stuff together. I collect sayings too. A lot are my own. But, like you, they are things I DO I don't just say them to myself, I do them. Even stupid stuff like "don't check the time when you know you're late, just get there" it cuts out so much stressing and I get there just as quick.

Before this heroin I was genuinely into what you might call "self realization" I mean altering myself into who I wnated to be. Heroin made a total mess of all that. If you know you're doing the wrong thing you despair about ever doing right.

Sorry this isn't all directly relevant. I like to read your blog for an alternative viewpoint, so I suppose I'm giving one back.

Take care. Keep strong ~~ EVEN STRONGER!!!

Dad and Mom said...


Your comment is too directly relevant about the subject of this post.

"Drugs are a quick fix. The quicker the fix the more addictive the drug", Gledwood.

"The fix isn't always the solution", Ron

GG said...

In my family I was brought up to be the fix-it/enabler; responsible and helpful above and beyond the call of duty. I always came up lacking, somehow, so I'd try harder. I think that my early child hood training grew me into a person who was responsible and helpful to people until I didn't have a life of my own as I was so busy 'helping' others. I used to get pissed-off that people couldn't do for themselves until I realized that neither could I. I think the urge to fix things for others is a tough habit to change but I also think & know from personal experience with a loved one that great & positive changes can be made from great and positive changes -- and bring unimagined happiness. It seems to me that something similar is happening to you and I'm happy for you and your family.

Learning about what's my responsibility and what's not has been a great task for my fix-it mind and nature. And while I've been fixing myself some of the other things I couldn't fix have fixed themselves. Without me. Amazing. Go figure....

I think fix-it people & fix-it minds possess valuable skills. Pointed in the right direction and with the right tools for the job, we get things done.

The best to you.

Fractalmom said...

I posted this really good comment to your blog yesterday, LOL, and it went to the big never never land of cyberspace. Ah well.

Yes, I figured this one out too. The thing I keep telling myself with the latest group of kids I am raising (so as NOT to repeat the past...)

FOOLS rush in where Angels fear to tread!!

Lori said...

You made me LOL when you wrote that your comment to me was "clear as mud". I thought you were perfectly eloquent. I'm just the dork that couldn't totally get it. :)

I never thought I was a "fixer" when it came to my son. He has been so independent from about the age of 9. My daughter, on the other hand, has been so anxiety filled and incredibly needy. She is almost 18. It wasn't until about a year ago that I stopped being her "answer girl"..."What should I wear today? Should I wear my hair up or down?" In all honesty, SHE should be the drug addict...not my son.

Seriously though, I am a teacher, and so by nature I am a fixer I suppose. I'm also a mom, and fixer is part of our job description.

Tori said...

Ron - I just wrote a post on how insane I felt I was always worrying about Blake and sitting here right now wondering if he was still there or did he check himself out again. I am literally driving myself crazy over all the what ifs. It was so ridiculous I was embarrassed to post it and deleted the entire thing. Then I come over to here and you have exactly what my post was about. I am a problem solver that is part of my job. I am also a "fix it" person it is part of my job. I never saw it like that though. But now I am trying to "fix" things that may not even be there. I have had 2 days of "calm" in my house yet I continue to stress out about Blake. The things going through my mind today are just crazy - all because he hasn't called me. Yea, I am a "fix-it" and enabler. I really hope I can work through this. After reading your post I seriously need to work on myself while Blake is working on him. Well, I hope he is and I hope he is still there. -sigh- EXCELLENT post and now I am REALLY glad I didn't post my crazy post. Thanks!