Annie was 21 when she surrendered to drug abuse. I should have seen it coming, but I didn’t. I was in denial, totally blindsided. I frantically sought answers, heaping much of the blame on myself, trying at times to be a firm and responsible parent, but always slipping back into my worst defects. My self-will was running riot, and I was making myself sick with PTSD, anxiety and clinical depression.
My obsession with saving her—my constant worrying—contributed bigtime to my downfall. I couldn’t let go of it. And it was so easy to justify it to myself: I love my daughter so much and I want to save her from herself. I won’t give up on her. I’ll do whatever it takes.
We are parents who love our children without exception. But our dilemma is not about love. It’s about the many stresses on that love that, in my case anyway, made me very sick. One of those stresses is worry. Too much of it can make us feel martyred, which is so passive. I was in a constant state of anxiety. And for what? It changed nothing.
These past many years striving toward recovery have slowly helped me feel worthy of being a better me and therefore worthy of having a better life. For me, that includes grieving in my own way around my daughter, while at the same time embracing all the love and joy in family members and good friends who stand by me always. It doesn’t include putting one foot in a future that hasn’t happened, weakening my footing in the present.
It’s a waste of time. And couldn’t I be doing something better for myself?