To my fellow parents of children battling addiction:
This is the time of year when young people walk across the stage at graduation ceremonies, and celebrate with their families who beam with pride. It is also one of the most difficult times for us.
Every photo of a smiling graduate with their proud parents is a constant reminder of what we are missing out on, and/or what we have lost. Life can seem very unfair.
It is through tears that we look at, or pass by, the happy photos on our Facebook newsfeeds.
With hurting hearts, we wonder why our journeys through life have to include something as devastating as addiction. Why do our children have to suffer this cruel, misunderstood disease? Why? Why? Why?
Many of us have other children who do follow the traditional paths in life and graduate from college, but we can’t wear it as a badge of honour like other parents can. We are robbed of this feeling of pride in a job well done because we learned the hard way that good parenting is not a guarantee of anything. If it was, all of our children would be doing well, but they are not!
On the other hand, we are probably ten times as happy for, and proud of, our children who graduate because we know how easily things could have gone off the rails. We know the reality of today’s world. We live it each and every day.
Some of us have learned to function through the pain of a child’s addiction, while others are still struggling to find their footing in the very rough terrain. This is not an easy journey.
The disease of addiction cuts deep into our hearts. Graduations and other special occasions are like salt to open wounds.
I want you to know that you are not alone. There are many of us who feel sadness at this time of the year. If you are one of them, please do something nice for yourself such as taking a walk or going out to dinner.
If you want to give yourself a lasting gift that will make you feel better now and into the future, reach out to those of us who understand how you are feeling. There is nothing like talking to someone who truly understands your situation and the pain involved with it. Addiction in the family is not easy. You don’t have to go through it alone. Let us help you.