|Anecdotes from Avi|
During the last anecdote, we discussed the fact that your child needs your help and the importance of not letting your other children feel neglected. We will continue our discussion of actions a parent can take.
Actions a parent can take
Protect your relationship with your spouse. Chances are that you are at odds with your spouse. Dealing with an addicted child puts a heavy burden on a marriage. Try to reserve frequent alone-time with your spouse for talking and just being together. Make a point of you both telling each other one positive thing about each other during your time alone.
Protecting your relationship with your spouse includes not blaming your spouse for the child’s addiction. You may feel that if your spouse did or did not do some specific things the situation would have been different, but you do not know so. It is easy to blame your spouse but my feeling is that you are both responsible and you both need to work on the problem together to solve it. Blaming will stand in the way of a solution, be painful and will not lead to cooperation.
Note that sexual relationship between the couple often suffers when the couple is at odds with each other. Mostly the wife feels that engaging in sexual relationship is “dishonest”. Today’s advice is to start with regular sexual relationship while working on the relationship itself. For more details see: The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman (https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-5-love-languages-gary-chapman/1112878532?ean=9780802412706).
If you and your spouse cannot settle down and find a loving way of working together, then professional counseling may be in order. I recommend that you set your expectation for professional counseling to be a mediator between yourselves and not as a solution provider.
I believe that this is an important point, to keep in mind, for the path to free your child from addiction. Family dynamics and a stable family environment are very important. See reference, as per Anecdote 6, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3799532/.
Evaluate yourself and do not lose your own sanity: It is easy to lose the sense of your own faults and options that lay in front of you. It is also very easy to be stressed out, chronically (continuously) and give up. Use the Directed Free Association technique described in Anecdote 5, to rejuvenate yourself, daily, and laser focus your attention on the options you have in front of you.
Educate yourself about addiction: I recommend that you start with the following three books and never stop educating yourself:
- “Chasing the Scream” by Johann Hari, https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/chasing-the-scream-johann-hari/1119439492?ean=9781620408919
- “Dreamland” by Sam Quinones, https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dreamland-sam-quinones/1120727233?ean=9781620402528. Cautionary note, Quinones calls drug users, at times, “junkies” which can be very painful for you the parent. Overcome these feelings, the rest of the information is good.
- “High Price” by Carl Hart, https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/high-price-carl-hart/1114195547?ean=9780062015891
Say that you read these suggestions and would like to change the way you behave. I believe that you should not rush into it and you should not alter your behavior without first letting everyone of those who will be affected by such a change. First allow yourself a period, no less than a day during which you will get a good night’s rest. This period will allow you go over your changes in your mind. I recommend that you gather your family (or those that are affected by the change in your behavior), explain your intensions, explain your goals and ask your family to help you in your new endeavor. Then listen to whatever everyone has to say. When you listen to everyone else do not interrupt your family members, except for clarification. Then allow yourself a period, no less than a day (during which you will get a good night’s rest) to fine tune your changes.
If you have more distant family or other “close friends” that are not helpful but are prying for information. I believe that your only immediate responsibility is for your spouse and children. Responsibility to others, more distant family and friends is a distant second.
Next anecdote: we will explore a silver lining in the story of addiction
You are not invincible—Stew Birbrower
Together we march towards a destiny