"I want my life back." said the parent of an addict.
Have you ever said that or felt it? I did many times. Darlene use to say, "This is not the life I signed up for." Why can't it just go back to what it was before drugs? It's easy to feel that as the parent of an addict.
We went to sleep many nights asking those questions. Wondering where our son was and what he was doing, those were the thoughts driven by the fear. We just wanted it to all go away.
The day finally comes and drugs left our life.
In the beginning nothing changes. Fear is still the overriding emotion. Fear that the monster is still just around the corner. Our heart wants the joy and happiness of drugfree but our head understands the reality that the monster is still just around the corner.
So much you want to trust and come back to a normal life but you know better. How many times our hopes were dashed by that needle and we spiral back into the pit just as our son.
It's been three years since that day arrived that we hoped for so long. Honestly, not a day goes by that I still don't think of the horror. But it does not shape my life in the way it did while Alex was using.
A tough fact that I have learned is that you don't get your life back. There is no going back to the way it was before drugs. Our son was changed, but we were changed too.
It's easy to long for the past but the future is what allows us to grow. As every parent knows you are forever a father and mother. Those connections cannot be broken but they are re-routed in our life. For some it is impossible to maintain close ties but for us we kept ties close. This was Alex's choice.
Learning to be the parent of an addict in recovery is a hard road. You still have to think and be aware that the world is different. You don't put away the books or stop talking to others on the same road. But most importantly, you must learn to take care of yourself throughout the whole experience of active addiction and recovery.
I'll leave this post with one statement and two questions.
There is no going back, your world has been forever changed.
Knowing how much you love your child, if drugs completely left your child's life today are you healthy enough mentally and physically that you could help them in the right way when they need help?
What are you doing to prepare for that day?