By Donna M.

Life can be trying on a good day, then add to the mix your teen or adult child's substance use disorder. When addiction, alcoholism and or mental health issues creeps into a parent's life, it is imperative that they put on a pair of boxing gloves because they will often feel like a punching bag from the verbal and emotional from their child(ren) and the consequences of their addiction.

When a parent is new to the world of addiction, they are knocked off balance, their stability slowly dissipates, their hearts are broken, they're desperate to figure all this out all while dealing with feelings of confusion, denial and anxiety. When I was living with the nightmare of my son's active addiction, I truly thought because I was his mother, I could fix him, I could rescue him and I could love him back to being the beautiful boy I once knew. Truth be told, for years it was like I had an enormous rock that I was trying to push up a mountain all by myself. I was lonely, lost, angry and heartbroken; but as long as I kept trying to move that rock I wasn't dealing with reality, I wasn't dealing with my feelings and I wasn't living my life

After many years of my son in and out of treatment facilities, living at home or living with friends I hit my enough and knew it was time to drop the rock. When I was able to let the rock roll back down the mountain and shatter into little pieces, it dawned on me that if I picked up one piece of the rock at a time, I could possibly restore my sanity and my health.

I took back my power and started to live my life again, I began to accept that my son may never get well and I began to show up for the healthy people in my life. I developed a spiritual connection to my Higher Power, I began to holistically create a solid foundation for my recovery from codependency and enabling. I surrounded myself with positive people and atmospheres that felt good to be around and most important, I stopped allowing myself to be the victim and a human punching bag.