Dear Fellow Parent

Being the mother of a child who is struggling with chemical dependency can be one of the most painful things you may ever experience.

A Mother Writes about Her Daughter’s Treatment for Addiction

There are some clinicians who claim that the pain suffered by the mother or father is greater than the pain experienced by the person who needs treatment (who is under the influence of their chosen medicator much of the time). This is a letter one of the parents wrote to us after her daughter was in treatment.

Dear Fellow Parent,

Our road has been diverse and arduous. Loving an alcoholic and/or drug addict, loving someone who is suffering is painful and tricky.  It has tested many of my limits as a human being and as a mother.

The learning curve is steep and mistakes are costly in every way. It is challenging to be a mountain amidst chaos. The lows of my daughter’s failures and the fleeting clean and sober times kept me in a state of heightened anxiety for many.

I wanted to know what the counselors were doing that was working and what could and should I do as a parent to get on board and to reinforce the progress? How should we change our family dynamics? What are realistic goals for my daughter today? How does tough love work when there are mental health issues possibly created by the alcohol/drug dependency (or not)? What do we do if there is a relapse? What kind of supports should in place when she exits the program? I asked all of my questions, I learned innumerable valuable things from the staff and from other family’s successes and mistakes and I developed great compassion for the other parents and spouses and other patients.

There is comfort in sharing the struggle. Information and experience help. The staff who shared with us during the Family Program were knowledgeable and informative, realistic, compassionate, supportive, funny and hopeful. It is a program with many elements to address the diversities that enter its doors. The range of knowledgeable, loving individuals, each with different strengths and communication styles increases the chance of success.

I pressed it… I wanted information and answers and direction, I needed peace for myself but I foremost needed my daughter to be well. I came home in a much better place personally and in relation to my daughter after our participation in the Family Program together. It was a safe and informative place for us to communicate, to mend, to learn and to plan. The relationship work with the alcoholic/addict is a bridge that needs to be mended before crossed. Progress, not perfection, was made. Each little success was savored. My daughter is a different person after her stay.  My daughter is a different person to herself, to me and to the outside world. She is now becoming and owning her inherent beauty as a soul and is in a psychological/physical/spiritual place in which she can be a productive and happy adult.

What part have I played in my daughter’s illness and what can I do to help?

My daughter’s progress makes me weep in happiness and relief and gratitude.  Have you ever felt so grateful for something so very important, and you didn’t know who to thank? My daughter’s progress is firstly due to her persistence and her actions. The treatment centers, counselors, and staff helped to bring her to a place where she could learn about her illness, learn about herself, function and begin to live her sweetness again. This journey has been a group effort by knowledgeable professionals and loving individuals. I am so grateful to every staff member’s whose face I can name – and those I can’t. I am grateful for what I know of that helped my daughter and for what I don’t know that helped her.

Fellow parents and spouses, my sincerest wish for the recovery of your child or significant other and your own healing. In deep gratitude to the individuals who have helped my daughter to find her way and fully live her journey today.

– Sarah B