TruthTalks News • March 28, 2017
There is so much to be learned from kids in recovery. They hold the keys to helping parents deal with their child’s addiction. Their candid, courageous, revelations of the insights they’ve gained from their own addictions are laid out, right before our very eyes….if only we would just listen.
An important documentary called ASK (http://www.askdocumentary.com ) interviews both kids in recovery and their parents. And to my surprise, it addressed one of my most painful concerns—Why can’t my young adult see that what she’s been doing isn’t working. Why does she insist she doesn’t need help, doesn’t need sobriety? Why??
One of the kids being interviewed discussed something she called a Cycle of Addiction.
What? There’s a cycle?
I watched intently, riveted to her awareness of becoming trapped in this cycle. And as I listened to her, I related her cycle to that of my own child who was also restless, unhappy, stressed. Who felt she needed something outside of herself (the one thing that will fix everything –that will make her feel prettier, smarter, more whole). She became obsessed with the possibility of this quick fix. She took a drug. The drug felt good. And her use escalated to the point of need and no control. Sooner than later the kid started feeling guilty about the stealing and lying and drug abuse…sooner than later she ran out of money, became desperate and ended up in treatment
But still…once in treatment, she remained trapped in the cycle…..she thought she was different from those who’d found recovery, or she was ashamed to be “one of them” because of the STIGMA of addiction. She ultimately and very consciously separated herself from the others there and didn’t do the bonding and work that was needed to break free. She isolated, considered herself an island, and refused to consider the wisdom of those who have walked in her shoes…she was lost and had no tools to extricate herself from the chaotic cycle of….….restlessness…obsession…substance use…abuse…loss of control…guilt…cessation of use….passage of time….restless…obsessed….use…abuse…no control…guilt….treatment & sobriety….passage of time…..
….restlessness…obsession…substance use…abuse…loss of control…guilt…cessation of use/sobriety….passage of time….restless…obsessed….using…abusing…no control…guilt….cessation of use/sobriety….passage of time…restlessness…obsession…substance use…abuse….
By listening to these other kids describing similar experiences, (from the mouths of babes) a truth was revealed to me. Despite our children’s best efforts to stop their drug abuse, when they are in the grips of addiction they simply live the same pattern over and over and over again. Their intentions are to stop using, but they are trapped and can’t find a way out on their own. They need to ask for help.
After hearing these kids talk, I donned new lenses with which to see my child, which is exactly what happens to parents in TruthTalks workshops. I SAW my child, as if for the first time, and the actions were no longer as scary or random…they were identifiable and predictable and each a stage in the cycle of addiction. I could even mark the very predictable timing of each stage. Over and over and over again. One stage leading to the next. Over and over and over.
And while I was saddened by this raw truth, I understood that in order for our kids to free themselves from this cycle of addiction, they must realize they’re inside of it. And often, they can’t. Often the perceived antidote for their stressors has too strong of a pull.
Some force of love or clarity or insight needs to catch their attention (much like this documentary caught mine) hold up a mirror, set them free. And so we wait, and hope, and love our adult children even more knowing what we know now — that they are caught in a cycle, a vicious, vicious cycle.