We often hear ourselves telling our addicted loved ones that they are worthy of a second chance, but there are those things in life that you cannot ever get back. Second chance theory implies that it is possible to obtain what is lost and we all know that isn’t always the case. In the mind of an addict, they see this as defeat before they even begin. I changed how I phrased things with my oldest son because he would begin to make an attempt, but when he realized that it would be impossible to turn back time and replay the moments he had missed, it would lower his self-esteem and before you knew it he was back in the old pattern again.
He was 24 when his oldest daughter was born. I saw that as many people do; an even that would surely change him. It’s not that he didn’t love his daughter, or that he loved his Drug of Choice more than parenting, it simply was not the event that would change his course at that particular time. His drug of choice had such a hold on him he could not see how damaging it was to his relationship with his daughter.
He spent time in jail a few times her first three years of life, and maintained a distant relationship with her through his support team. Was I right or wrong to gap that bridge for him? Keep reading and you be the judge…
Guilt is a powerful emotion in the mind of an addict. It can keep them using, or it can finally give them the courage to break free. He would admit to me from time to time that he was feeling guilt over missing events in her life that would never return. I kept telling him that there are plenty of “First Times”. It was up to him if he would take the leap of faith and give himself a second chance to participate in the “First Times” that were still available to him.
A few weeks ago my phone rang on a Sunday afternoon, my son was out of breath with excitement; he had just taught Kaley how to ride her bike without training wheels!! Fast forward to this past weekend and enjoy the view from my mind’s eye as he walked into my home with his daughter holding a bag in her little hands. Inside the bag were her first pair of “high-heeled” shoes!! I wish you could have seen the pride in my son as his daughter shared her experience with me as she was buckling her new black patent leather shoes,embellished with rhinestones to model them for us.
These events may seem insignificant to some, and yet to my granddaughter and my son they are memories that project so much more than simple moments. They are “First Times” that symbolize his recovery from the inside out. These are memories that my granddaughter will carry with her throughout her life. They are memories that restore my son’s soul…and I had the pleasure of witnessing it.
Hold onto hope, never let go, never give up and never give in. Don’t discount the small pleasures in this journey or the obstacles that seem to get in the way of our addicted loved ones journey; they are all part of a plan that we may not always understand, but will bring us together if we continue to encourage even when we feel discouraged.