Angela, why do you think honesty is so critical to long-term recovery?
Honesty is the shot from the gun that begins the recovery race. In order to change, one has to be able to understand what self-honesty is – not just to come from a place of honesty, but also to be able to receive feedback. If an individual does not have the ability to be honest about their fears or challenges, then they cannot be open to receiving the information, tools, and suggestions necessary to expand, evolve and maintain sobriety. Addiction loves emotional stagnation. A person must change to recover, and that change will depend on many factors. Simply put, honesty is critical.
My child is struggling with addiction. What did I do wrong? What can I do to help them be honest?
Each family situation and dynamic is unique, yet the unhealthy game that alcoholism and addiction plays is not. Our experience has shown that one of the biggest fears a parent faces when their child is struggling with addiction is, “what did I do wrong?” Addiction does not require bad parenting, yet it demands continued enabling. Recovery is not about what parents have done in the past, it is about what they are willing to do in the present.
As a parent, one of the biggest contributions you can make is to be that which you would like to see in your child. In other words, model honesty for him or her in all areas. Also, be honest with yourself about the fact that you have no control over your child’s addiction. Allow them the space to step into their own integrity. To create that space, be honest enough with yourself to ask for help. Alcoholism and Addiction affect the whole family. We strongly recommend parents be open minded and attend Al-Anon meetings, follow professional suggestions, and obtain their own therapeutic support. This is challenging for parents as they often feel that their child has “the problem.” We urge every family to accept that, more often than not, the necessary shift that can lead to a child’s recovery begins when the family first seeks their own support.