Recovery is far different from being “clean” or “not using”. When my son, Eric, would come out of jail, the young man I raised would re-emerge… for a day, or two or three. You see, while he was in jail, he was “clean” so the drugs were out of his system. However, soon after being released, Eric fell back into the addiction mindset and began to use again. I asked my therapist how this could be. He was CLEAN after all.
My therapist told me that Recovery takes much more than just being “clean” or “not using.”
Recovery is the work of changing this addiction mindset to prevent future use. Until the addiction mindset is sorted, the behaviors that plague our sons and daughters are much like that of active addiction. Drugs are often used again and hidden from us as parents. Manipulative actions spring up because they continue to need whatever it is now, now, now! There is no real interest in other people or their needs. Eric’s clinician, who is in recovery herself, told me she was working very hard at changing this attitude a full year before her own mind started to clear.
And it is just as important for parents to explore ways to strengthen their relationship with their son or daughter during this time. We must show our children entirely new ways of being. We must empower them even through their struggles. Plus, the time during recovery is a PERFECT time for parents to grow themselves because they’ll have more mind-space for this type of work.
Recovery is not a straight line. We are wise to enjoy the moments when our child is in recovery and to plan for the possible relapse because, yes, relapse is part of recovery. I’ve seen too many parents count on continued recovery and end up devastated when relapse happens.
When your child is in recovery, it's important to work on your own recovery. Yep, parents have their own recovery process. This is a perfect time to grow your skills in how you engage with them. It's a perfect time to dig in and Love Another Way. This is the biggest gift you can give your son or daughter.
Watch This Workshop. Help Your Addicted Son or Daughter Succeed in Recovery