I am going to post my essay here on my blog too. It's been a few months since I updated my blog. The drama and daily crisis isn't the same as when my son was actively using, so the need to write isn't as urgent.
Here is what I submitted to The Partnership.
Believing in Someone
It’s been many years since I wrote posts for Partnership for Drug Free Kids.org. Maybe it’s time to catch you up since my first post in November 2009, “7 Truths About my Son’s Addiction That Took 5 Years To Learn.” Since that time, my son has been clear and sober since July 2010.
As the parent of an addict in long-term recovery it involves another learning process. How do you live with and parent a child in recovery?
I am going to take liberties with my language. It is my opinion that parents of a child addicted to drugs that enter recovery do suffer from PTSD. It’s not natural as a parent to suffer nightmares of your child using and death, its not natural to find tears flowing down your cheeks for no apparent reason, it’s not natural to be suspicious of every action and word, even a simple I love you. The fear and suspicion is overwhelming.
Trust has been broken at the core level.
The good news, it gets better.
Slowly we heal. It’s a struggle learning to trust a person that hurt you so bad. You see struggles and actions by that person that allow you to support and brings back that belief in someone your love so dearly.
No one has to suffer in isolation. None of us are alone. Just as you do while living the horrors of a child in active addiction reach out and grab those extended hands of help.
Recovery is a hard road for both your child and you. My hardest lesson was no one is perfect. We all must be allowed mistakes and we all must accept forgiveness. Addicts in recovery are not perfect. Parents in recovery are not perfect. Pointing out every misstep does not help either of us. Each of us make mistakes, critical for all is the need to ask that all important question, “What did I learn?”
There were many mistakes of good intention made by all during our son’s recovery. Talking and communicating helps us both recover and heal.
Since July 2010 my son has become a college gradate, works a full time job, owns a home, is a father and is raising his own family. There IS life after addiction.
Another difficult lesson to learn that I hope you learn is that their recovery is theirs to manage and your recovery is yours to manage. Recovery is different for everyone. Do I consider myself fully healed? No, there are still flashbacks triggered by random thoughts and encounters. You find a way to deal with the triggered horrors and random tears that flow down your cheeks.
One of my recovery processes is speaking to groups of young people and adults about being the parent of an addict. To this day seven years later when I speak to groups my eyes well up recounting our experiences.
Life is good. Every cliché you hear is what life is like. One day at a time. One foot in front of the other. They all work as long as you work them.
In closing, I’d remind you where there is life there is hope. Continue to love and never stop believing. Loving your addicted child is natural. Believing in them is something you must do and show in your actions. Believing in a person is powerful. Use your power of belief to help your child suffering from this horrible disease.