Parents of Addicts Don’t Have the Benefit of a Rearview Mirror
The opportunity to grow during difficult times far outweighs what we can learn when everything is going right. Once the storm passes, it is easy to go back and see the lessons. Looking back into the rearview mirror of a situation, we might even be grateful for the trial. Hindsight truly is 20/20.
Unfortunately parents of addicts don’t have the benefit of a rearview mirror. During active addiction, there is no end in sight, and even when our children are clean, there is still the lurking fear of relapse. “This too shall pass” is a common phrase giving people strength to endure hardship. The sad fact for parents of addicts is that we might live out our days with children lost to their addiction Beast. The most painful reality the parent of an addict faces is that they are powerless to battle their child’s Beast for them, no matter how much they love them; no matter how many years they spend trying.
So, parents of addicts try to maneuver an obstacle course of their own recovery, with few directions, and without the benefit of hindsight. They are left pick up the pieces of their shattered hearts while riding an emotional roller coaster. Most parents give up the fight. They are broken-hearted and paralyzed by fear. Little by little, year after year, they lose themselves. Before they know it, their lives are under the control of a two-headed monster – the Codependent Enabler Beast.
He whispers in their ears and screams in their faces:
“You have no right to be happy while your child is self-destructing.”
“This is your fault.”
“You are a bad parent.”
“You don’t deserve to be happy.”
“If you were a better parent, you could save your child.”
And the list goes on. The guilt and shame are suffocating. Parents of addicts have lost their joy, happiness, peace, confidence, hope, faith, self-worth, and a sense of purpose. Even more devastating is that for every mom or dad whose life is being destroyed by the Beast, there are countless other family members and loved ones affected. The disease of addiction is brutal, and our Beasts are hell-bent on making sure nobody makes it through the minefield. The dismantling of families is occurring at an alarming rate, and it is time for us to stand together; to shed the shame and guilt. It is time for moms and dads to battle the Beast they can control.
I rode the Roller Coaster From Hell for thirteen years, with my Beast at the controls. I was at my lowest point, standing in my kitchen telling my husband, “I just don’t want to be here anymore; it’s too hard.” I had hit my rock bottom, and it was then that I made a decision that probably saved my life – I decided to stand up and fight.
I had no idea where I was going, or how to get there. I fought hard to get up off of the mat, and over time I was standing in victory over my Beast – all while my daughter was very lost in the belly of hers. Initially, the Nine Actions to Battle Your Beast were created, out of desperation, but they now serve as a roadmap for others. These are the Actions parents of addicts are using every day to put the pieces back together, without the benefit of a rearview mirror.
The Nine Actions to Battle Your Beast
- Decide to Stand Up & Fight
- Get On Your Spiritual Armor
- Put On Your Oxygen Mask
- Build Your Circle of Strength
- Change Your Attitude
- Adjust Your Focus
- Stop Being a Control Freak
- Stand On Your Story
- Make Meaning From the Madness
Valerie Silveira is an award-winning author, international speaker and Beast slayer. Through the devastation of losing her daughter over and over to the addiction Beast, and finally losing her to a senseless murder, Valerie empowers others to stand up and fight for their lives. She is the creator of Nine Actions to Battle Your Beast and the Still Standing Sisterhood membership program. Valerie uses her books and Sisterhood to guide women in their quest for happiness, peace, and purpose. She builds up women of courage who stand strong against any Beast in their lives.
Until her death in August 2016, Valerie chose to call her daughter Jamie, “Jordan.”