Addiction Can Be A Teacher – Some Lessons I’ve Learned

When your child started abusing substances your life as you knew it changed.  What worked before no longer works.  Continuing to do the same thing expecting different results is insanity. 

If you want to feel better, you have to make changes.  It doesn’t matter that your child’s addiction is the source of your pain.  It only matters that you are the only one with the power to change how you feel and how you experience their addiction.

Are you willing to see the situation differently?

What if you could see this as an opportunity to heal and grow?

Our most painful experiences also provide the biggest opportunities to change and grow.  We can stay stuck in the pain of the situation, or we can put it to work for us and use it as a teacher.

Your child’s addiction shines a spotlight on every vulnerability and insecurity in your life.  Then the addiction exploits them so it can feed on them and grow.  You end up drowning in fear, guilt, overwhelm, and shame. 

There’s a way out, but it’s not what you think it is. It’s nothing outside of you. 

No one else has to change.  

You have the tool you need.

It’s your brain.  

The same brain that is telling you the lies like you aren’t a good enough mother, that your child’s addiction is your fault, that you will never be happy again, is also the brain that can heal you.

Your brain is your most valuable asset when it comes to healing from your child’s addiction.

Right now your brain is running on autopilot.  Not because anything is wrong with you, but because that’s what your brain is supposed to do.  It’s supposed to be efficient and conserve energy for survival and that’s what auto-pilot is for.

It takes courage, but if you look at what the spotlight of your child’s addiction is showing you and take an honest inventory of what’s true and what’s a lie, you will know exactly what you need to work on. What’s their addiction teaching you about yourself?

Your brain works on a think, feel, act cycle.  You think a thought, it releases a chemical that creates a feeling in your body, and you take action based on that feeling.  Some of our thoughts are lies though. In order to figure out what’s true and what’s not true, you have to create the awareness by watching your thoughts and challenging them. 

Remember to be kind to yourself in this process.  Your brain’s programming to be on autopilot is strong & will keep overriding your attempts to change.  The process of overriding your old programming will be easier if you have compassion and kindness for yourself.  It’s just how your brain’s survival mechanism works.

Some of the truths my daughter’s addiction showed me were I needed to work on were boundaries, self-care, and to stop trying to control the world.

I realized I had no boundaries.  I did things I didn’t want to and got mad at others even though it was really my choice.  I said yes when I wanted to say no.   I was focused on my daughter, work, and everyone else while neglecting myself.  I was working too many hours, spending all my time trying to get help for my daughter and none for me, and I wasn’t sleeping, eating right, or exercising.  I was trying to control things that were out of my control.  I was making myself sick in the process.

I learned boundaries well enough that I can teach them now.  I turned my focus to me.  Your brain might tell you this is selfish but it’s not.  That’s why I use the oxygen mask example.  If you don’t put your own oxygen mask on first, you can’t help anyone else.  I started working out, eating better, making my mental health as important as my physical health, and I take care of myself first. 

I am the only thing I can control and I can’t control anyone else. I don’t need my daughter to change so I can feel better because I know how to manage my brain and make it work for me.  Just knowing that makes it so much easier to just let things go.

What you’ve been doing isn’t working.  You’ve suffered enough though.  It’s time to try something new. 

2 thoughts on “Addiction Can Be A Teacher – Some Lessons I’ve Learned”

    1. Heather Burgess Ross

      Hi Sheila sign up for my mailing list on the link above. There’s also a link to my Facebook support group on the menu at the top of this page. I’m in the group providing support all the time and the members support each other as well. If you sign up make sure you answer the questions.

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