Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, an 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992, when he had a year sober. He's in his 28th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he often disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Friday, April 22, 2016

More Acceptance

A lot of parents, especially single mothers, carry a heavy load with their child's addiction.

I talk with one or two of them on no less than a weekly basis. When we first start I can hear some hope in their voice. It's kind of like I have some idea of what to do with the kid to make him/her whole again.

And while I do have some ideas, that's not usually the direction I take them. And it's not that I don't want to be helpful. I love to help. But she's the one who called or wrote, not the addict. He doesn't give a crap. He's out there trashing his family and the rest of the world around him in pursuit of his addiction.

Instead, I know the real way I can help is to her teach a different way of thinking. Cause she already knows there's help in a lot of programs - including ours.

But the way I want to help is to teach her about acceptance. She'll usually give lip service to the idea. But somehow, to her, accepting that her child's an addict is tantamount to giving up on them. But it's not; it's about us protecting ourselves.

If you're in this situation just try it. Get up in the morning and say to yourself that you know your child is a ( fill in the blank ) and that "I accept that he/she won't change until they get enough pain. I know I'm powerless over their their addiction."

Do that for one week and see if you don't feel freer and lighter. Because you didn't give them the drug or alcohol  - they did. And they did it knowing you wouldn't like it or approve.

Give yourself a break. Accept that you have no power beyond prayer. And at least one of the two of you will be healthy.