Serenity? That’s not a word you think of for a parent with a child in active addiction. Trauma is more like it. Fear, anger, sadness, isolation, shame, regret, guilt, and others come to mind, but not serenity.
From the day they are born, we connect viscerally and spiritually with our child. We love, nurture, comfort, and defend them. We build expectations and dream of their future filled with success and happiness. But the moment we put them on that school bus for the first time, we start to give up control of the person they will become.
If they get bullied, if they don’t make honor role, if they are cut from a team, we suffer right along with them. If their health declines, so do we. But if their behavioral health declines, we suffer in many other ways. When they can’t connect with us any longer, when they lie and steal from us, when they are no longer able to love and be loved, we start to die inside.
How do we find serenity in that situation? It’s not easy, but it happens, and we see it happen in parent groups every week. Little by little, willing parents learn to accept things as they are, rather than how they thought they’d be. Surrendering that “illusion of control” is the first step. In our parent communities, we find the strength to face our fears, to be humble and tolerant, but firm, in the face of our child’s situation, and finally we forgive ourselves and our sick children for the past. We move forward with gratitude, and resentments for the trauma we suffered melt away. A sense of peace, of calm creeps in; a sense of serenity.
Many of us have experienced this and we see it in others every week. We hope you will join us at one of the many Caron Parent Support Groups to see and experience it for yourself.