Whether it is you or a loved one in addiction it affects everyone involved. That’s why at Tiger Mountain Recovery, Inc we infuse family dynamics into the program of treatment whenever possible.
As a mother of an addict myself it took me what seemed like an eternity to figure out how this life of addiction for my daughter happened in my life, more importantly how to “fix” it. Through the years of our walk through addiction I learned that even though I didn’t CAP (Contribute, Approve, or Participate) in the addiction phase of my daughter’s life I had to learn how to cope through it. Everyone tells you to go to Al-Anon meeting’s and it will help greatly. Well I didn’t, and it did take me much longer to get out of the “well of depression” that ensued. I threw myself into learning everything I could on my own by reading books and other life stories, researching online, and prayer. I thought I could do it myself.
Only during the course of my daughters recovery program and family dynamics groups did I feel that camaraderie of knowing I was not alone. Believe me that was so very liberating! While my daughter made strides in her life of sobriety, I realized I too had work to do in order to assure her Relapse Prevention would work for her where family was involved. I also was able to discuss feelings and how to begin a true “self-care” strategy in my life and in our family life.
In this blog I will be sharing the first step I had to take in my own recovery from this terrible disease that infiltrated my family, to FORGIVE MYSELF.
Realizing that as a parent, relative, or sibling we possess a personal responsibility on some level that directly relates to our personal core values and behavior in the family unit. As a parent what that meant to me is I was responsible for my children, no matter how old they were. In reality what our children do does reflect in some way on the family as a unit. However, that level of responsibility does shift as the child grows and develops their own free will. There was one example of that transference of responsibility that I was told awhile back that goes as follows: birth to age 6 the parent is totally responsible for child, age 7-12 the child begins to translate core values on a limited scale and is challenged by peer and social views, age 13-18 the child is beginning to apply learned and perceived core values and behaviors but is held accountable by parents and community as they progress to independence and adulthood responsibilities and it is in this phase that we have our last real shot as curbing willful behavior and lack of coping before they are “released” into society. This helped me realize and affirm to myself that while there may have been things that I missed during her growth and development I never condoned anything that I thought would lead her to her addiction.
Parenting has never been easy, and in today’s society is almost impossible. In today’s society parents must be vigilant as the negative influences are everywhere. The society core values are on TV, billboards, newspapers, friends, family, and if applicable Church and community, and it is with the family unit that personal decisions and choices are flushed through to what is to be believed and supported. So for us as parents to assume total responsibility is unrealistic. At best we can form our family nucleus bond and educate ourselves on how to better identify and help support through any life-challenge. In order to successfully do this we must learn to let go as appropriate, and forgive ourselves for our ignorance if you will, and learn whenever possible.
Having never been in addiction myself it was very difficult for me to comprehend the lengths and changes in behavior that one in addiction goes to in order to continue in that downward spiral of life in that addiction. I was ignorant or blind to the signs and symptoms of addiction that were manifesting in our family. Frankly I didn’t want to know on some level, as I see looking back. I also didn’t have a support system of those who have “been there” to help me see what was transpiring. You see if I knew then it must be my fault. So when I finally put it together I was overcome with the knowledge that I allowed it. This is the first thing I had to forgive myself for. In no way had I allowed it. But I still had to figure out how to forgive myself for not being enough- smart enough, strong enough, resourceful enough, etc. The fact of the matter was I was clueless and my daughter needed me to learn and grow with her.
I don’t know if you have God in your life, but I know I couldn’t have come through without my Faith. I am not one to judge anyone’s belief structure- Jewish, Christian, Buddhism, Muslim- all I know is what I believe and that is that God is my source of power. However you can connect to your God is what is important here. I am a Christian, my walk in life is with the Faith and knowledge that everything happens for a reason, season, or lifetime. The challenging things in life are what make our testimony to others or they are for nothing. We have the free will to take advantage of the experiences from other’s walk. Most importantly that my daughter has her own walk in this life and I am not totally responsible, my responsibility is to be her support and love her through her challenges in her adult life.
Knowing that in my daughter a testimony to others was being built and it was up to her helped me forgive myself for not being that “all knowing” entity in her life as I had once thought I should be, I was not God. I had to forgive myself and release for His work to be done. Let Go and Let God became my life code. Another scripture that I found useful was “The Lord helps those who help themselves” so I began to learn and take purposeful steps toward being an active supporter of an addict not enabling.
The best way to help us gain that ground needed in a healthy family is through support groups, whether through your Church or community group the 12 step method and peer support is unparalleled regarding success. For this reason we have begun our Family Focus Group at Tiger Mountain Recovery. The content is based on the 12 steps of recovery with focus on different challenges that we face as we support our loved ones who are either still in addiction seek treatment or are already in a life of recovery. If you cannot attend our group I encourage you to find a similar group near you. If there isn’t one maybe you should start one. I would be glad to help coach you in the right direction, or maybe you can begin one within your church. I guarantee you that you are not alone! This disease is woven in the fabric of every level of society.
Choose today to begin to forgive and release yourself to allow yourself to begin your “self-care” strategy. You will be so glad you did!
Henryetta 12 Step Meetings-
Location: 316 West Main Street Henryetta, 74437 Office: 918-650-9292
Sunday at 6:00pm 12 Step Work Meeting-ongoing
Mon-Wed at 7:00pm Closed Meetings-ongoing
Thursday at 7:00pm Open Meeting-ongoing
Friday at 6:00 Family Focus for families of addicted loved ones.-Beginning July 6th, 2013
Contributed by: Sharon Glidden, Founding CEO
Tiger Mountain Recovery, Inc