How do you stop feeling like a failure as a mom …. of an addict?

How do you stop feeling like a failure as a mom….? This question comes from a mum whose son has come to addiction in his 40’s. Everything appeared to be on track. Having graduated from parenting to grandparenting they learn their son is experiencing addiction. It must be a huge shock.

The societal view that addiction is a disease, bad, or wrong is slowly changing. New thoughts and ideas on addiction are out there, gaining momentum but not yet mainstream. They are worth considering and make sense to me.

You mention your son has also been diagnosed with severe depression and PTSD. Dr Gabor Mate, a Hungarian-Canadian physician who has worked with addicts, believes trauma, childhood or transgenerational is the root of addiction. The substance of choice producing the brain chemistry needed to soothe the pain.

“Addiction is not a choice that anybody makes; it’s not a moral failure… What it actually is: it’s a response to human suffering…”

— Dr. Gabor Maté

If addiction is self-medication rather than a dis-ease does anything change? What happens to the sense of failure? You may be filled with compassion and everything is solved or transfer the sense of failure to another issue.

Question… Who says something has gone wrong? What if addiction is part of your son’s life journey, fate, or destiny. Could addiction be a catalyst to highlight and possibly transform personal or transgenerational trauma? or to change track to a more fulfilling career etc?

Whatever our opinion life is neither a fairy story nor Disney movie. Happy ever after is a relatively modern idea. History shows that life is tough, and no-one gets out alive! Some seem to have an easier ride but there is no guarantee for any of us. But if as a parent I am part of the problem I can be part of the solution.

At the start of my transformation journey I felt, spoke, and acted like a victim. Life was happening to me. I had no control and a whole load of negative self-talk. As layers of conditioning lifted, I saw things differently. I learned about the bigger picture, how transgenerational and early life events have influenced my perception and behaviours.  I became more self-compassionate. This made it easier to look at patterns, mistakes, and judgements and start making positive changes.

I now view life as the episode of a tv series/season. Rather than a one-off this life is part of my soul’s journey of many lifetimes. This makes sense of incomprehensible, unjust events and tragedies. My purpose is to deal with what is happening in each moment the best I can. Challenging situations are opportunities for learning and personal growth. They may not be welcome or easy, but gold lies beyond each obstacle.

4 key steps in stopping feeling like a failure as a parent of an addict

  • Awareness
  • Acceptance
  • Curiosity
  • New habits

The more I can be at peace with myself, my story and history the less I am overwhelmed by negative emotions and feelings such as failure, guilt, shame, judgement. A magical outcome is that as I work through my issues something shifts for my children.

Do you have a question, topics, or practice ideas you would like me to share? email me or post in the Facebook group.

#addiction #parent #help #support #addict #alanon #not_alanon #recovery