SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER AND RECOVERY- WENDY BLANCHARD, M.S., CHHC, CPS

The actions and behaviors that we present to our impressionable children as a moral compass when living with Substance Use Disorder, albeit unintentional, many times becomes their own moral compass.

We are their teacher. We live what we learn. 

Although some of us, at a point in our lives are able to recover from this disorder, and we are able to successfully sustain our own recovery where our brains have healed, we live in wellness, and we work to lead by example, we must realize that much damage has taken place in the hearts, bodies, and minds of those precious and impressionable children that watched us, listened to us, and subsequently, now mimic our formerly unhealthy behaviors, and their precious and impressionable children too, watch…listen…mimic…

This is the most excruciating realization…

And, exactly as we walked on our path, where only at the exact moment when we were ready to receive support for recovery, where we had our own excruciating realization that we were so fatally unwell, and that we were causing our loved ones to be unwell…we asked for help to save our lives from this brain disease. What is more painful is that we can only be a bystander for our loved ones as they walk their own path, as our loved ones stood by and helplessly watched us walk our own. We can only continue to guide, to lead by example, and have hope that one day, they too will ask for help to save their own lives. We pray daily.

Self forgiveness, many times, becomes almost unbearable, and undoable, as we watch much of what we have created in those who witnessed us living with Substance Use Disorder live with our formerly unhealthy behaviors. Many times we do not feel worthy of love, of forgiveness, of peace, of joy.

Professionals tell us that this type of thinking is not in alignment with the facts of this chronic and progressive brain disease. They tell us that “you did not cause it, you cannot cure it.” Something about that phrase offers to “let us off the hook.” However, when we are watching what feels like a movie of ourselves in our loved ones own lives, choices that they are making, and actions they choose to take in spite of a variety of offered solutions….the guilt, the sadness, and the heartbreak…the deep emotions of having passed on this disease, stands in the way of self forgiveness. We may deeply understand their own anger and resentment toward us, and many times where there is no resolution, somehow, we must make peace with their feelings and emotions. I believe they are entitled to feel what they are feeling in response to all that they have endured, and all that they themselves may be experiencing with this disease.

We do know that Substance Use Disorder is genetic, and exacerbated in an unhealthy environment.  The wonderful news is that Substance Use Disorder is diagnosable, treatable, and manageable. We can definitely “arrest” this disease when we choose healthy practices, practice daily self care, find the solutions that specifically speak to us on an individual basis through ongoing professional support and self exploration, and most importantly, where we never take one moment of this disease, even in remission, for granted. We must never let down our guard to this brain disease, and for this, we must be educated and empowered, and disciplined and dedicated to our sobriety, first and foremost.

When we allow ourselves to consider the “what ifs,” and “I should have’s”  we are consumed with a self inflicted virtual beating of unhealthy thoughts pertaining to our own lives, and of our loved ones and friends who also “lived” with our active Substance Use Disorder. There is no resolution for anyone in this type of “self harm,” and may jeopardize our own recovery. We must be mindful of our thoughts. Healthy thoughts…healthy body and mind. Practicing mindfulness to leave the past behind us, and to bring our focus to the present moment where we recognize that we are safe, we are doing our best, and that we are not defined by a past where we were unwell offers self forgiveness and healing…ongoing.

Many days I find it challenging to forgive myself, but am resilient and in alignment with my truth, my recovery tools, and the Universes loving guidance and encouragement. I was unwell, unaware of the extent of my disease, and when I began my recovery and learned new healthy practices, I became healthy. “When we know better, we do better.” I take self care time for myself daily. This practice is my daily reminder of the excellent work I have done over the past 6 1/2 years in my recovery, of my resilience, of my strength, and of my passion to be a conduit of inspiration for others.

Ive coined the phrase, “Self care are the tools that we use to achieve wellness, and wellness is our power in recovery!”

Self forgiveness is an imperative piece of self care.

I had a client/ mom who has an adult child who is very unwell living with Substance Use Disorder ask me today if it is okay for her to go out and enjoy a couple of hours of doing something that she enjoys.

My answer was, and is, something that I remind myself of every single day…

We have the right to live our lives, and to take care of ourselves. It is so important to remember the analogy of the oxygen mask on the airplane. We must first put on our oxygen mask in order to be of help to anyone else. Self care is the most important piece of our own wellness, and wellness is our power in recovery.

This mother is in so much pain. She has done everything that she can, with all of the tools that she has learned as the mom of a young adult living with Substance Use Disorder, to help her child, to lead this child to resources and support for recovery, to no avail…YET. I have now offered her additional support, resources, and tools, and when this child is ready, she will have options to present.

In the meantime, her story is the story I hear daily, and one that I too, have lived. It reminds me of the importance of supporting one another in the Substance Use Disorder epidemic we are living with, where many times, we feel so helpless, and hopeless.

We are all doing our part to be a part of the solution. We do our very best with the tools that we have. And, we must remind ourselves in the midst of a disease that plagues a family, even when just one person is living with the disease, healing can only occur for those of us who ask for healing support, those of us who are willing to accept information and solutions, and who are ready to do the work that recovery requires to survive, and to thrive…daily. We keep in mind that this is a lifelong, ongoing process, and we remind ourselves that we must be patient and kind to ourselves throughout, without any judgement. We must remind ourselves to practice forgiveness…and, to educate our ourselves about this disease. We must remind ourselves that we are not alone, and to connect…

When we are ready…

Recovery is a holistic process of healing the body, mind, and spirit.

For information on how I can support you in your recovery, please go to the CONTACT PAGE, and I will be in touch with you within 24 hours.

SAT NAM…

Love and blessings,

Wendy

 

 

 

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