As a parent of two teenage addicts, my life was full of frustration and turmoil. Although I was responsible for their actions as minors, my example and teachings were cast to the wind. My children were raised not to smoke, drink or use. I expected them to refrain from smoking since that is what killed my mother before she knew her grandchildren. I held to my expectations firmly even though the results were always the same – the pain of disagreements and resentments. I would lecture, scold, whine, or otherwise try to manipulate them. One day while I was driving home, I thought of the ashtray on the front porch. I bet there would be butts in it – my children who I expected not to smoke were smoking. This was simply unacceptable to me. My blood pressure rose as I was filled with anger and frustration. In Nar-Anon, I am learning that addiction is a progressive disease and that a relapsing addict will begin where the active addiction left off. So it is with me. I was fully in the grips of my own disease. In my anger, I reached for the program. The phrase: “An expectation is only a premeditated resentment” came to mind. In a moment of refreshing clarity, I thought, “They were smoking yesterday. They were smoking all last week, last year! It would be reasonable to expect that they smoked today and probably will tomorrow.” In that moment, I accepted reality. I still did not approve, but I accepted it. When I crossed the front porch my serenity was back, my blood pressure was normal, and I did not even notice the ashtray; it did not matter any more. My children have problems and I hope that someday they will solve these problems themselves. After all, people quit smoking all the time. In one of those quirky twists of life, within months, both quit. The fruits of that twenty-minute drive did not stop there. I am learning I am in denial. I am not accepting the realities of the family disease of addiction. My expectations had been unreasonable and even irrational.
Thought for Today: I am responsible for my expectations. I set them and I can change them. In so doing, I have control over my recovery and some of the hurts in my life.
“Within every adversity lies a slumbering possibility.” ~ Dr. Robert Schuler