this is written by Lori, a mom of a difficult child and I am sharing this from the PSST site, please read her words: My so-called guidance that I inflicted upon my son was really enabling his addiction, because I was there to save him from the harsh reality of recovery. I didnt understand that the road into and through recovery is brutal. and most of all; I didnt want to believe that it had to be me that brought this bottom (of the road) to him. Part Four As parents we still hope for that relationship with our teenager and we continue to try to force it to happen. However, we come to a point where we realize that it will never be. So as parents, we eventually come to the end. The end of hoping that we can salvage our childs teen years; The end of hoping that there is a chance that we can still be their parent as they are a teenager. There comes an end to the chance of having a relationship with our teenage child. Regardless of how much we need our teenager, they will never be. And the longer we hang onto our teenager, the longer we trap them and ourselves into an existence of co-dependency and manipulation. In many ways dealing with the loss of our relationship with our teenager is like dealing with a death. We must take the time to mourn this, so that we can move on and allow our teenager to move on. And we must look for our own inspiration so that we can to continue to support our now emerging adult child. There are many sources of strength and support, including God, support groups, other parents, etc. I often find that lyrics in music provide surprising wisdom. There is a song by Martina McBride called, In My Daughters Eyes, and piece of it is as follows: Everything becomes a little clearer I realize what life is all about It's hangin' on when your heart has had enough It's giving more when you feel like giving up And this is kinda what we do. We keep hanging in there for the sake of our drug-addicted kid. We do realize that it is not about us. It is about us supporting them. It is about us doing what is necessary for the benefit of our childs recovery, regardless of our needs. It is about us allowing our teenager to proceed into recovery so that they can begin a new life, where they can start to realize new dreams And our teenager is struggling with what they have lost. Our teenager must come to terms with this, for they have lost their teen years and all the events of those years. Our child gave them to drugs. And this really does hurt them more than it hurts us. So we must hang in there when our heart has had enough. We must also trust that our drug-addicted teenager will emerge as an adult in drug recovery when we feel like giving up all hope. We must trust in something, in order to let go of our teenager, so they can let go of their teen years; To begin to come to terms with what they have lost, and begin to heal; to gain strength; to move into adulthood and into drug recovery. Now we must look to the future and support our children in their recovery. I am convinced that true recovery does not start until they assume responsibility for it themselves. And we as their parents must allow them the freedom to accept this responsibility. We must give them the freedom that they need to pull themselves up from the ashes of their teen years and move forward as an adult However, this is just too hard. We still want to be there for them, to give them guidance and direct their recovery. But the reality is, we need this more for ourselves, than any other reality that we are truly effective in guiding their recovery. There have been many times when I did not understand the actions of my sons counselors when he was in placement, and I felt the need to intervene. Surely these people do not know what they are doing! However, I always stopped myself and asked the question, Whatever I did, Did it ever work? And regardless of how much I want to believe that I really did know what was best for my son, the answer to this question was always a resonating, No! Since he started his drug use at the age of 13 until he was forced into placement by the courts at 17; what I was doing was not working. In fact, it helped the addiction process to continue. And if I feel guilty about anything today, it is the length of time it took for me to realize that I was not effective in dealing with my sons addiction. And the longer I believed that I was, the further he sank into this pit of heroin. Maybe if I acted sooner, maybe if I didnt wait so long, maybe if I had listened earlier, maybe his addiction would not have developed as deep as it did. That is a regret that haunts me every day. My so-called guidance that I inflicted upon my son was really enabling his addiction, because I was there to save him from the harsh reality of recovery. I didnt understand that the road into and through recovery is brutal. Nor did I understand how necessary it is for an addict to walk this road into order to reach the other side. And I certainly didnt understand the actions that were necessary to force him to the bottom of this road, and most of all; I didnt want to believe that it had to be me that brought this bottom to him. I ran from that responsibility for years; shifted it to others, while I continued to believe that he would see-the-light and calmly accept recovery. But these demons of addiction that occupy our children; These demons never seek recovery. And as long as we appease them, these demons will continue to stay and play. So we are not wiser than our childrens drug counselors, or wiser than the recovering addicts in NA. We are not wiser than all the experts that are addressing our childs drug issues. They can help our children more than we can. So, we must accept the fact that there will always be a piece of our childs life where we do not fit, because we are not a drug addict and we will never understand that piece of their lives. We must let go and allow them to move on. We must allow them the space to be able to assume responsibility for their own recovery and allow them to seek advice of others, and it may not be us. And even more so, we may not be involved and we may never know. End of Part 4 - Come Back Next week for Part 5 A brief preview from next week: And I tried, to the exclusion of my marriage, my daughter, my career, my friends, and everything else around until the exclusions included my health. But I could not fix this. And the more I tried to fix it the more we all sank into the co-dependency of manipulation and enabling.