Accepting my child’s destructive choices

Acceptance.  Hmmmmmm . . . . What does it look like to work through painful losses with your son or daughter?  When your child has a problem with drugs or alcohol, pornography, an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia, cutting or some other form of self harm, suicidal thoughts (or has made attempts), depression, bipolar or some other mental health issue, same sex identity struggles, has been raped or abused in some way you are thrown into a world of grief and loss.  You are suddenly on a journey through all the stages and phases of grief that are the same as though they had died.  In some ways worse because it often includes the element of rejection.  When my daughter moved out because of her need for alcohol and drugs it crusehd me.  It felt as though she had died and some days I wished I had died.  The pain was so deep I didn’t think I could bear it.  It would have been easier.  I was then on a journey toward my ultimate goal of A C C E P T A N C E.

It’s messy.  You’ve never done this before.  You don’t know how to do it.  No one else can do this for you and it won’t be pretty.  It can be up and down.  Back and forth.  A process of three steps forward, two steps backward.  Many of you are familiar with the phases of grief – shock, denial, bargaining, anger, depression/sadness and then finally, acceptance.  It is a process that takes time.  We can’t hurry it up.  We must experience it in our own way and our own pace.  If we ignore it and sweep our emotions under the rug they will fester.  It will only get worse and come out in other ways.  It can even make us sick.

I would like to make a suggestion.  Don’t try and do this alone.  Alone is not good.  Alone is so isolating.  Alone is so much harder.  There are several things you could do:

1)  Talk to a counselor, your pastor or a trusted friend who won’t look down on you as you process your feelings.

2) If you like to write, keep a journal as you go through this time. It can be very healing.

3)  Join a support group.  I’d like to say a little more about this below.

There are many parents out there who understand you and are going through the same thing!  You are NOT alone!  Really!   It is so comforting to get together and discover it’s not just you who is having these problems!  We are all so embarassed that we don’t say a word to anyone and suffer unnecessarily in solitude.  We can help each other so much!  So go find a support group to be part of or start one yourself!  (If you think you might want to start one but need help and ideas, my husband and I can help you or your church get one started for your community!)  We are hoping to see thousands get started all over the country because there is such a huge need and not a lot of support out there.  Send me a message with your email and we will contact with you.  Al-Anon or Nar-Anon have great support groups, even if you aren’t dealing with a substance problem!  The same principles apply to any situation.  There are other Christian groups with 12 step recovery programs, too, like Celebrate Recovery.  You can google “parent support” groups and see what is in your area.

May God direct you to the help you need as you process your grief and move towards acceptance.  There is such peace there waiting for you!  If I found it, you can too.

This Bible verse encourages me so much, “By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me —  a prayer to the God of my life.”  (Psalms 42:8)

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