Six Pivotal Decisions Parents Get To Make When Their Child Struggles With Substances and Addiction

Hopestream for parenting kids through drug use and addiction
Hopestream for parenting kids through drug use and addiction
Six Pivotal Decisions Parents Get To Make When Their Child Struggles With Substances and Addiction

Shorty episode alert 💫⁠

Today I'm taking a break from talking about addiction, substances, mental health, all.the.things. ⁠

Instead, I'm sharing six decisions you get to make as a parent that can help better your life when you have a child struggling with substances or finding their way to recovery.⁠

It's a quicky that will give you a few things to consider if you feel a bit untethered or like life is controlling you vs. the other way around.⁠

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0:02spend a little time recognizing where you might be able to tap into some of these areas to bring about a new way of being, a new way of interacting with yourself. It is a time when you get to evaluate, how am I with me? And I know there’s a lot that sucks about this experience. Trust me. I’m not saying this is the dream that you had for your child or yourself, but. Hands down when I work and talk with parents who’ve been through this and chose to sit in the seat of awareness they always say that they have found multiple silver linings through it. You’re listening to Hope. Dream the place for those parenting teens and young adults who are misusing drugs and alcohol in a treatment program or working their way toward recovery. It’s your private space to learn and to gain encouragement and understanding from me. Your host, Brenda Zane. I’m fellow parent to a child who struggled, and I’m so glad you’re here. To learn more about all the resources available to you besides the podcast, please head over to Hope Stream Hello friend. It is just us today. I’ve been thinking about a few things that I wanted to share with you, and I keep this list of topics on my phone. I think I’ve talked about it before, that at some point I’m going to get to the mall, but today I’m actually detouring from that list because it felt important to take a break. From topics and data and information about addiction and spend some time talking about the realm of you. This is actually, if you can believe it, an exciting time in your life. Because if you choose to, you have the ability and the option to lay down a whole new template for how you go about life, and it’s likely going to be more intentional. More thoughtful, more kind, and probably a lot more boundaried than you have ever lived, and that can feel really great. We talk a lot about focusing on what is in your control versus out of your control. Sometimes we talk about your personal hula hoop. Sometimes we talk about emotional boundaries, in essence that it’s futile to spend your time and energy trying to make someone else change. Yet there is so much that you are in control of. There’s so much that you get to decide on. And so I decided today to go through a few of these things. That I think apply, particularly whether you have a child or someone else that you love who is struggling with substances right now, or if they’re in treatment or even, and especially when they’re launching into a new life of recovery. Now, when I run through these things, you may think, well, that’s obvious, and I’m still going to include them because I know when you’re in the thick of it or if you’re in the process of. Kind of riding your ship. It can be easy to forget things. I mean, I still forget things every day, and I am six years into a really good space with everything. So take what you need and you can leave the rest, but do spend a little time recognizing where you might be able to tap into some of these areas to bring about a new way of being, a new way of interacting with yourself. It is a time when you get to evaluate, how am I with me? Am I treating myself like I would treat my best and closest friend or a family member? And I know there’s a lot that sucks about this experience. Trust me. I’m not saying this is the dream that you had for your child or yourself, but. Hands down when I work and talk with parents who’ve been through this and chose to sit in the seat of awareness versus being whipped around by emotions and reactivity. They always say that they have found multiple silver linings through it. So with that, here are some things that you get to decide. Number one, what you’re going to do with big emotions. If there is one universality about having a child struggling, it’s that you as their parent will feel big emotions and not all bad. There can be amazing positive emotions on this journey as well, and you and you alone get to decide what to do with them. One pivotal learning that I have taken away from all the therapy involved in the past eight or so years is that no one can make me feel anything. I used to think, oh, he’s making me so mad, or I’m so scared because he’s doing X, Y, Z. What I now know is that other people’s actions and my responses to them are completely discreet. It may feel automatic to respond a certain way, but with intention and work, you get to decide what you feel. It is not anything that’s in their control. See, there is some good news in all of this. number two decision that you get to make is what you’re going to do in the space between an event and your response. If you’ve been listening here for long, you’ve probably heard us talk about the response gap. It is this exquisite period of time that is suspended between something happening and your response to it. If you choose to be strategic in how you use the response gap, it puts you in much more control than if you decided to just plow through it. It’s like a cushion for what’s going to happen next. Again, like deciding what you’re gonna do with big emotions. It requires presence of mind and heart to step into that space and use it wisely. Using it wisely might look like going outside and taking a walk, doing some breathing exercises, calling a friend or a therapist, drinking some water, and having some food. Whatever gets you out of reaction mode and allows you to approach what’s happening with deliberate action. Hey, did you know Hope Stream Community is a nonprofit organization and we are so happy to provide financial scholarships to over a quarter of the parents who use our services? We have our first ever giving campaign happening right now, and if you’re a podcast listener and you’ve benefited from the content here, we would love it if you’d help us keep this as a free resource for parents. We’re all about action and Hope Stream community. And over 84% of our members say they have noticed an improvement in their relationship with their child since joining. And over 69% believe their child has accepted help in one form or another as a result of their experience with us. So we know lives are being changed, and we wanna be able to help even more parents. If you’re able to give to our Year of Hope campaign, please go to Hope Stream to learn more. Thank you. Now back to the show. Number three, decision that you get to make is what you will feed your mind with. There’s probably nothing more toxic than spending a lot of time consuming content from today’s media landscape. I have recognized this, especially lately when I’m looking through Hulu or Netflix or Apple tv. I’ve noticed that the majority of what’s available is about negative, horrible things, often involving drugs and crime and pain, whether it’s real or fictitious. And if you have this in your real life, you may not need to add more of it in your off time. Honestly, I don’t need anymore of any of that marinating in my head. And obviously there are shows and podcasts and even social media accounts that focus on the positive, but if you don’t seek them out, it’s easy to get steeped in a lot of negativity from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed. So being really cognizant of what you’re feeding your mind with is a decision that you get to make that can have a huge impact on your overall wellbeing and to this category of decisions in your control. I’m going to add self-talk. The way you talk to and about yourself with yourself is so important, and it is so in your control. You may need to break some lifelong patterns because you may have talked negatively to yourself most of your life, but now that you’re in this process of finding new footing, it’s a good time to redirect your words and your thoughts to lean more into self-compassion than self-hate. Number four decision that you get to make is what you’ll feed your body with food, water. You may not even think about what you’re putting in your mouth as having an impact on your overall management of this experience with your child, but they actually cannot be more connected. I won’t do the full deep dive that I would like to on this. That might come in another episode. I. Your mind and heart can only function and react to the sustenance that you’re providing for them. And let me just disclose here that during the height of our rollercoaster journey, I wasn’t thinking about this at all. I was a, I don’t know, let’s call it a nutritional wasteland. And it showed, I couldn’t think straight. I had massive brain fog. I was unhealthfully underweight because I was not making decisions about food that would benefit my overall wellbeing. And I think it’s important to say that this might not be the time to start any kind of diet or a new food lifestyle, unless that feels helpful for you. But usually if life is a bit chaotic, it’s not the time to implement a whole new pattern that’s going to require even more decision making for you. But the decisions you make about eating a plate of real food versus something that is highly processed or manufactured food is pretty simple. Pouring a glass of water instead of downing a soft drink or another glass of wine is a decision that you are in control of. And if you do that consistently, you’re going to start feeling the benefit of providing your body with stuff that it can actually use to clear your head and to fuel you with the stamina and the energy that you need for this marathon that you’re running. The number five decision that you get to make is how you’ll begin and end your days. There are two times a day when you have decision making power that can have a massive impact on how you navigate your experience. If you bookend your days with a simple plan, a routine that sets you up for a positive day and a night where you are optimized to sleep well, you’re giving yourself a huge gift. This one is so important because if you’re riding the rollercoaster, or even if you are now in a smoother place with a child who’s in recovery, it’s really easy to get absorbed by the day, by technology, by the outside world before your feet even hit the ground. And it’s also easy to let the day erode into haphazard sleep patterns because you are just so stink and tired and drained by it all. and when I say a simple routine or pattern for your mornings and evenings, I truly mean that simple. You can find a zillion blogs and podcasts and books about morning and evening routines. So I’m not gonna go into a lot of detail here, but there are a few things I’ve done that are so stupidly simple that I have actually made a real difference in my mental state that I will share. One is to get your phone, computer, tablet, all the devices out of your room at night, and I know how dumb this sounds because I resisted doing it for a really long time. I know it sounds trivial, but I cannot tell you what a difference this made for my sleep. There’s actually a lot of science behind it, which I won’t go into. I will let you dig that out on your own because I know you’re a researcher. But just try it for a week. Put all that stuff in your bathroom or your closet or wherever you can, and just see what happens. And for mornings, protecting those first few minutes of your day without technology. With a few minutes of intentional gratitude, journaling, stretching, breathing before anything else gets to penetrate your consciousness actually feels. Delicious. It feels like you’re kind of sneaking time back from everybody out there who is tugging and pulling at you all day long. Spending a few of these sacred moments in the morning, disconnected from the rest of the world is part of setting yourself up for a more intentional and aware day, day. Number six decision that you get to make is who is in and out of your support circle right now. The last decision I’ll talk about is who you surround yourself with during this season in life. Because I work with so many parents in all stages of this adventure, I see patterns of you being bombarded with people who either don’t support you or don’t understand what’s going on. It just becomes an added drain on your mental and emotional resources. They are likely well intentioned, and I always encourage you to assume good intent, and still at times people just don’t get it because they haven’t taken the time to learn or come to a place of empathy and compassion for you or your child. Of course, this one is so tricky, especially when it comes to family, but think about the people you spend time with, and if they’re an energetic drain or they don’t emotionally support you, consider taking a little sabbatical from them for a while. Ask yourself, how would things be different if you were not interacting with them for a while? To temporarily distance yourself from a toxic person or a person who isn’t fully in your corner is a brave decision. It is one that allows you to expand your energy, where it needs to be, which is on your own wellness and helping your child. And you can ask if they’re willing to roll up their sleeves and work to understand what you’re going through. Ask them to read or listen to the book Beyond Addiction. See if they’ll listen to a few of these podcast episodes. They may just need some education, and if not, then you get to decide how much you let them into your world. And remember, anything you do now does not have to be forever. Okay, friend. I know that’s a lot. And here’s the thing. You also get to decide what feels right and helpful for you right now. Don’t walk away from this podcast feeling like you should be doing everything all at once. Think about where you feel disconnected from having agency and where your locus of control feels weak. That’s where you start. Maybe it’s an experiment to try four minutes of controlled breathing in bed before your feet touch the floor. And if you wanna go crazy with it, set your phone in the closet or outside your door before you get into bed. And I know, I know, I know. It’s the alarm thing. I’m just gonna let you in on a little secret. If the volume on your phone is up high enough, you can still hear the alarm if your phone is just outside the door. Also, there’s this thing called an alarm clock. They’re kind of old fashioned, but they still exist, and there’s some pretty amazing ones now that have meditations and white noise built in, so you can always check out one of those. The main thing is take it one step at a time. Decide what decisions feel best for you, and start there. So let’s do a quick review. Six decisions you get to make for more control and grounding in your life. Number one, what are you gonna do with big emotions? Number two, what you’re gonna do in that space between an event in your response. Number three, what you’ll feed your mind with. Number four, what you’re gonna feed your body with. Number five, how you’ll begin and end your days. And number six, who is in and out of your support circle right now. I will wrap this short little episode up right there. I hope you’ll take extraordinarily good care of yourself today. Give yourself a huge pat on the back for being here, for doing your work, taking control of what you can and leaving the rest. If you’d like to get some deeper insight into why your child might be doing what they are and how you can be healthier through it all, you can download a free ebook I wrote. It’s called Hind Sight. Three Things I Wish I Knew When My Son Was Misusing Drugs. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but I think it’ll be really helpful for you. And that’s slash hindsight. Listen. You are amazing. You are the elite parent who should be holding your head high for the fact that you are learning and knowing and doing more than 90% of parents out there. I’m in awe and I look forward to meeting you right back here next week.

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