Addiction is a family disease. My children have suffered from the effects of another’s addiction. In Nar-Anon, I am learning this suffering can manifest itself in many ways. Some children become obsessive about doing schoolwork. Others are compulsive about outside sports and activities. Still others avoid assignments and do nothing. My daughter’s grades in high school took a nosedive when she discovered that her father was an addict. Other members of my Nar-Anon group have shared that their children became obsessed with schoolwork, sports or activities. Unfortunately, others shared that their children became addicts.
Just as the disease of addiction affects the addict’s self-esteem, addiction affects the self-esteem of family members. Some children stop feeling good about themselves because they mistakenly think they are responsible in some way. My children thought that because they had an addict in their family their lives were ruined. They appeared unmotivated and spiralled downward.
As a parent in recovery, I believe my job is to lead by example, so I practice the Twelve Steps to the best of my ability. I have learned when I put my children in the care of a Higher Power, I can set personal boundaries and let go to allow them to learn from the consequences of their behavior. In Nar-Anon, I have learned to quit rescuing and blaming everyone else, including the addict. I have become ready to do something useful and constructive with my own life. Then, and only then, can I be of any help to others.
Thought for Today: I will try not to take it personally when my children show the effects of the disease of addiction. I will love them and give them over to a Higher Power. I can hope they get healthy as they see me work my program in Nar-Anon.
“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” ~ Edward Everett Hale