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Uncle Jeff and Niece Iysa

There is a Japanese story that, One day in the outhouse a worm fell on a sheet of ice. A compassionate soul saw this pitiable worm in great danger and deposited it in a place where it could be warm all night. The next morning it was dead. What the man thought of as good luck was not good luck for the worm. We’re wrong to think that what makes for the happiness or unhappiness of some does so for others as well.

from: The Song of Awakening by Yōka Daishi

My reflection, When Jeff was in active addiction, I felt certain that I knew when he needed to enter into a treatment facility. I felt certain that I knew when he needed psychological help. In time, I learned that what I thought wasn’t important or, oftentimes, even correct. He needed to make the decision, not me.

Today’s Promise to consider, We parents often feel that we know what is best for our children. I often forced Jeff into treatment centers, threatening him with some dire consequence. He submitted to my demands, but usually walked out after a few days. We can’t find happiness or peace or recovery for someone else. They must find it on their own. We, parents, can stay close and love them.



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Pat Nichols
8 years ago

Yes, we can stay close and love them provided we understand the nature of the disease. Educating ourselves fully on how to parent an addicted child is critical for everyone’s long term recovery. Addiction dominates our children’s mind, body and soul therefore controlling their attention without regard to consequences. We, as parents, have no control over their emotional (happiness) or physical well being. Addiction must wear “itself” out. So painful to watch but necessary for their recovery. My family learned to unite with one goal in mind and that is to send a continuous message that our addicted child was loved, forgiven and welcomed back into the family when he was ready for recovery. I believe our message to him was one of hope and it was that hope that would eventually ignite his long term recovery. Last Wednesday he received his 3rd year chip of being clean and sober. Miracles do happen! Never give up hope.

8 years ago

I always felt that if I could get my daughter into a program she would find the clarity of mind to clean up. I also believed that if I could get her life sorted out quickly, get her back to school, get her doing all the things I thought she should be doing her life would be good again. How desperate and naive I was. It has taken years, countless books and courses on addiction to realize it has to be on her terms and when she’s ready.

When my daughter disappeared for 2 and a half years I was devastated but I was finally forced to move on with MY life and somehow come to terms and let go of all my expectations for her. She is clean now (9 months) and is doing well. I no longer find the need to push her in her recovery. She is working her program her way and I can stay close to her and love her.

It took sooo long to reach this stage but there is peace and acceptance between us now and its wonderful.
I agree with Pat, never give up.

Janet Hankins
Janet Hankins
8 years ago

I look so forward to the Thursday blog. It always says something that is useful, touching, thought provoking. It is so painful to watch our children struggle, but it has to be their struggle, not ours. Thank you Libby