Children and infants know so much more than we give them credit for. They pick up our vibrations, they mimic us, and they feel the same things we do.
This is why I am trying so hard to stop being so angry. There are too many children that grow up with single parents. There are too many parents that contemplate daily what they will say to their child when they are old enough to ask where dad is or where mom is.
Addiction is a scary thing, because it will drive people apart — it will make the most giving people completely selfish. Sometimes, it will send a kid’s dad 3,000 miles away from them without even a “Hey, how’s he doing?” text message.
There are too many parents that project this anger onto their children, and the results are detrimental. Of course, it’s a daily struggle not to be angry.
It’s a million paragraphs deleted. It’s unanswered phone calls, just to beg for the attention that your child is lacking. It’s too many nights staring at your empty bed and the crib. It’s holding your sleeping child while asking God through your tears to give you a sign that his dad actually does give a shit.
It’s either that, or praying that you will eventually find someone for your child that will care for them the way their parent should have.
Once I heard someone say, “Recovery is a selfish program.” It made me question when we would get back the person we had before the addiction. An addict’s whole life is a recovery program.
If that’s the case, I guess we never will. Our loved ones in recovery will always remain selfish, and our kids will grow up wondering why they weren’t good enough for said parent.
The victims of addiction are not limited to the patient. The victims of addiction are the families, the kids, the hearts of the ones that love them.
A part of the grieving process entails anger and resentment. When someone we love battles addiction, we grieve the same way we would if they were dead. Some people will stay angry forever. They will raise their children in their anger, and in turn, their children will grow up angry. And so, the cycle continues.
No child in this world should ever have to grow up wondering why their parent chose drugs over them. They shouldn’t have to grow up asking why their parents don’t live together or why dad is on the other side of the country. They shouldn’t wonder why they never call and why they didn’t send them anything for Christmas. No parent should ever have to spend the first few years of a child’s life thinking about how to answer their questions.
But we will.
Addiction is selfish. The bible says, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” (Matthew 6:14-15)
I guess this means that we all have forgiveness in us. This is the kind of thing that sounds easy, but feels almost impossible to do. Every angry tear that we cry, every fist-clinched night, should be let go of, breathed out, dissolved in the air.
As much as people don’t want to admit it, this is relevant when it comes to the person who you may have watched go grey in the face while being slumped over a chair, the person who stole money from your child’s savings account when it was basically all you had.
It’s relevant to the person who you have waited up on countless nights with your newborn child, the person who slept through the majority of your 15 hour labor, because without the drugs he wasn’t able to function.
You have to learn to forgive him, even if he came in the labor and delivery room high the night after you gave birth to his child. Forgive him, even you handed him money with no idea it was going to be injected into his arm later that day.
Forgive him, even though your son probably doesn’t know who he is.
Forgive him for not calling and asking about his only child. Forgive him for the worry, for the hurt, and for the questions you will undoubtedly have to answer when your child gets older. Forgive him for not realizing that he is not the only victim. Forgive him for the blood, sweat, and the tears you have invested in this volatile relationship, just for him to turn around and end it. Forgive him for living out the dream he seems to have robbed you of.
Forgive him for being an addict. Forgive yourself for being a victim.
The anger does not have to resonate with your child if you don’t allow it. This doesn’t need to be carried on for generations to come. Teach your child how to be happy that their parent is healthy.
It doesn’t matter if he was able to love someone else sober, start a family with someone else sober, or do all of the things you wanted him to do with someone else, sober. All that matters is that he was able to do it. And all that matters is that this is just one more chance that if he wants too, he is able to be a part of his child’s life.
And if he doesn’t? Forgive him for that too.