The topic at Solution group really resonated with me last night.
“Make them earn success, not manipulate success”
Just as we are, our addicts are responsible for the Big 4:
1. Their Happiness
2. Their Unhappiness
3. Their Success
4. Their Failure
Why do we think they can’t get their license or a job without our help? They figured out how to get heroin without a car or money! When in active addiction, they got up and figured out how to get their next hit, every. single. day. Whatever it took….they did.
They are much smarter than we think. Very smart, very resourceful. They are way more capable than we allow them to be when we help them with things, (that aren’t earned) while in recovery. When we give them back privileges too soon all in the name of “30 days clean”, it’s actually a disservice to them.
I understand why we Moms/Dads do these things. We try to make the path easy for them so they don’t encounter bumps that will cause a setback. It’s our fear that drives us. We have this fear that if they don’t get that phone, that job, that car or XYZ they will give up and relapse. We have this crazy notion that these “things” have the power to keep them on the path of recovery. Or lack of these things will push them to relapse.
But think about it. We wouldn’t give any other grown adult a phone. Or help them get their license back. Would you? NO! Regular, responsible people do these things for themselves! Why is it any different when it involves our addict son or daughter? Do their siblings get near the stuff we give or do for our addicts? I am going to go out on a limb and say NO WAY! Why was it an option with my addicted child that I helped him get his license back and/or pay a court fine? Why do I always feel so urgent to jump in and do things for him?
I see now that it was for me. I want to feel good. I want to spend time with him. When he’s in recovery, I’m so desperate for him to stay on that path and so I jump in and do all these things and try to take the discomfort and the struggles away.
Reality…..We can’t change the waves our addicts will encounter. It is a disservice to them when we try. But we can teach THEM to build a stronger boat. We can guide them and show them that THEY can find a way to earn these things they want. There is no better gift than the genuine confidence from within that comes from earning our own stuff.
A recovery program is what keeps addicts in recovery. A new solution to their current solution (drugs) is what keeps them in recovery. Not the things we give them to make things easier.