“Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.” ~ John Wooden
We all struggle to find peace of mind when our children discover that they cannot control their substance use.
Your child may be a teen who can’t stop smoking cannabis.
Or they may be a young adult whose life is out of control because they’ve become dependent on drugs or alcohol. The negative behavior that comes with substance use is painful.
Boundary setting and following through is an issue that comes up often. Being on the same page with your spouse as you both watch your child spiral downward can be challenging.
A parent recently wrote to me that she wanted to find a way to reach her child to see results. So many parents wish for the same thing.
You weren’t expecting this when you decided to be a parent. Trying to find answers can be the most challenging part.
So, finding peace of mind can sometimes seem elusive.
Then again, what you probably want most is your child to take responsibility for their own life. That would give you peace of mind.
You’ve probably learned, and quite quickly, I would imagine, that the I-know-it all-approach is no match for substance use.
Yet, parents can be great influencers when it comes to helping their children change.
It starts with education, understanding, and taking care of yourself first.
Peace of mind comes when we take some time to understand ourselves before we try to change others. Understanding comes when we do some inner work. That doesn’t mean that you count up all the ways you messed up your child’s life. What it does mean is that you take responsibility for your part.
Have self-compassion. Take a look back at your childhood. It might have been good, but I’m sure it wasn’t perfect. In the same vein, you couldn’t deliver an impeccable upbringing for your child.
I’m guessing that you, like most parents, did the very best that you could. Be willing to own up to moments when you may have let your child down. We’ve all been there, so know you are not alone.
By doing this work, you clean up your side of the street, as they say in the 12-step groups. You get your own house in order before you try and help your child.
I’m reading 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordon Peterson. In the book, Peterson states, “And the foremost rule is that you must take responsibility for your own life. Period.”
When you take responsibility for your own life, you are better positioned to help your child change. You also serve as a role model.
Sometimes we find ourselves just reacting to what our child does. That can be a recipe for chaos. Instead, be proactive. Lovingly, set up clear parameters so that your child knows what is acceptable and what is not.
Is this easy when you are dealing with substance use?
The answer is a resounding NO.
It is hard work. And there is no one correct answer, which makes it even harder. Yet, when you put in the effort, you will have a better chance of having long-term positive results.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting that you allow your child to hit rock bottom. Do NOT detach and let go. Your child needs you now more than ever.
What I am suggesting is that you educate yourself on what works. You will then be able to be there for your child with love and compassion.
Each family situation is different. Each person who struggles with substance use is unique. Your child is struggling because of their pain and feelings of emptiness. There are similarities for sure from one person to the next.
Yet each person’s life experience is theirs alone.
Understand the trauma
Another step toward more peace of mind and less chaos is understanding why your child has turned to substances. Childhood trauma can be a factor.
“Thanks to the CDC-Kaiser Study of the late 1990s and the brain, trauma, and toxic stress-related research in the recent 10-15 years, the question to be asked IS NOT, ‘What’s wrong with you?’ or ‘Why did you do that?’”
“Rather the question to be asked IS, ‘What happened to you?’” Oprah and Bruce D. Perry, MD, PhD, have a new book out this year with that very title. According to Dr. Perry, “Love, and loving caregiving, is the foundation of our development. What happened to you as an infant has a profound impact on this capacity to love and be loved.”
Understanding what your child is going through will help you feel more compassionate.
In addition, there may be other factors at play here besides childhood trauma. Anxiety and depression are what I hear about most often. Mental health issues such as ADHD and bipolar are risk factors as well. There are many reasons why a person would want to turn to substances to feel better.
Understanding why your child feels the pain that has led them to use substances can help you both find answers that make sense.
Take care of yourself.
Self-care comes in many forms. One of the themes I repeatedly hear from parents whose children are now doing better is that they took the time to work on their self-care.
It is similar to my first point about understanding yourself. Yet what I want to emphasize here is to find activities that will help your mind, body, and spirit be in a more peaceful place.
Exercise can help raise your endorphin level. Your mind gets a break from the constant worry because you need to be in the present moment to exercise. You’ll fall off the treadmill if you don’t pay attention. And actually, I’ve done that.
Find an exercise plan that works for you. I know that it can be more challenging in the winter months, but take advantage of gym memberships, Yoga, Pilates, Zumba classes, and other options. These are types of activities that you can do indoors. You will feel better and increase your peace of mind.
My book answers many of the questions readers of this post may have – including how to help their child find recovery compassionately. Click on the book for more information. I hope the book is helpful.
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Meditation is another way to give your mind a break, and it has many other health benefits as well. If you are not sure about meditation, some apps are now available to help you get started. Four that I like are 10% Happier, Calm, Insight Timer, and Headspace.
People who meditate are less stressed and calmer. I want that for you.
My meditation practice is not perfect. I do start and stop from time to time. Yet, I can tell the difference when I keep up with a meditation routine. I am more peaceful and relaxed. My life feels more balanced when I meditate regularly.
I want that for you as well.
It can take as little as ten minutes a day. You can always start with baby steps, such as one minute at a time, and go from there.
Peace of mind is a gift that we give ourselves. When our life feels like it’s in chaos, we can choose to make changes to live a more peaceful existence.
Get your own house in order. Take time to understand what your child is going through. You can only do that once you do the work to feel your best and stay resilient.
A peaceful, chaos-free life is something both you and your child deserve.
If you liked this article and want to learn more, join the email list. You will receive the Sunday Newsletter, free training, and ebook. Also, my Regain Your Hope Video course is for parents concerned about their son or daughter’s substance use. Click on the image below to learn more.
By: Cathy Taughinbaugh
Title: How to Let Go of Chaos and Find Peace of Mind
Sourced From: cathytaughinbaugh.com/how-to-let-go-of-chaos-and-find-peace-of-mind/
Published Date: Tue, 01 Nov 2022 22:00:32 +0000
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