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Archive for July, 2013

ON SUFFERING

IMG_0728A mom wrote to me: They taught me this in India: Whatever suffering you have and for whatever reason, stay with it and accept it for what it is without analyzing or trying to figure out why. Let it dissolve. Acknowledge that you are helpless and let go, knowing that you can control nothing and that God will take over. Love and accept yourself the way you are. 

My response: This mom continued the above by writing, “Easier said than done, but worth practicing as much as possible.” Letting go of suffering takes practice, the passage of time and, for me, faith in my Higher Power.

Today’s Promise to consider: We all suffer. It’s part of life. It seems the more I rail against the pain, the more damage it does. Today, I will step back, pray, take care of myself and allow the suffering to wash over me. Like heavy storms, I can’t stop the rain, but I can take cover and pray, trusting that better days are ahead.

 


POWERLESSNESS AND SURRENDERING

Screen Shot 2013-05-31 at 11.02.35 AM 2

Photo credit: Charles Roussel

A father wrote: We have been fighting this battle with addiction with two sons and for five years. We are in a place of never knowing the right thing to do. We find it impossible to practice “tough love” the way the “experts” say it is done. Just last week I asked my wife if there are situations worse than death – what a terrible question to ask about your child.

My thoughts: We don’t know what to do in the face of addiction. We try our best, but sometimes nothing works. We force our children in rehab, throw them out of the house, wring our hands and make promises to God. We try to follow the advice of experts. In the end, we realize that this is not our fight to win. It is the fight of our addict.

Today’s Promise to consider: I will surrender my will because I know this battle is one my child must fight. I will stay close and continue to love him, but he must make the decision to stop the drugs. I know I can’t do this for him. I will pray and hope.

 


ENABLING: PART 3

Jeff, Jeremy and iysa with Dad/Granddad

Jeff, Jeremy and iysa with Dad/Granddad

A dad wrote to me, Fixing a child’s problems very seldom if ever works. Life is not really different from addiction. If a child never suffers consequences he/she never learns how to make better decisions. If we remove the consequence, we encourage the negative behavior because there is no negative effect to their action.

My response: This dad’s words ring true in a clear and direct way. He expands the idea of enabling out of addiction and into life. I think he’s correct. We all learn from the natural consequences of our actions.

Today’s Promise to consider: Helping a child grow into a mature adult requires him to face the logical and natural results of his actions. Whether I am dealing with an addiction or not, I will love my child and stay close emotionally. I will support his good choices and allow him to confront the consequences of the negative experiences.

 

 

 


ENABLING: PART 2

Jeff - LorimerDr. Patrick MacAfee, who for over forty years has worked with addiction, told me, Addicts in active addiction are self-centered and self-obsessed. Because of this, there is room for only one person in the addiction – the addict. In order to maintain his addiction, the addict manipulates, lies and connives. They have to. Parents love them and want to help, but they often unwittingly foster the addiction. It is critical for parents to get out of the way of the consequence of use. When they short-circuit the consequences, they contribute to the addiction. Think of it this way: USING = CONSEQUENCES.

My reaction: I lived in denial for a long time, living in the trap of manipulation that things would get better for Jeff as long as I could fix the problems caused by his addiction. With the help of professionals like Dr. MacAfee, education and Al-Anon meetings, I learned to remove myself from the stickiness of Jeff’s addiction. I had to learn how to stay close in love, but out of the chaos.

Today’s Promise to consider: As parents, we want to help our children by fixing their problems. Sometimes this works, but not with addiction. I will love my child unconditionally, but I cannot control his addiction. I will support his recovery while allowing him to face the consequences of his actions.

 

 


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