Bleed on Everyone: Single Parents and Their Struggles

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The saying goes, “Hurt people hurt people.”

Bleeding Out

Seeing our children suffer is hard. We (most of us) want to rush in and fix it. I desperately want to be the hero in my kid’s summer saga. It’s not going to work out that way, unfortunately for both of us.

Here’s the truth: each of us (kids included) has to take responsibility for our own actions, and more importantly for our children, face the consequences of their inaction or misguided action.

Today, one of my kids is struggling. Today, I am worried and sad. Today, I am feeling the stress and shame of the divorce that I did not choose. And why I couldn’t be there for this kid over the last 13 years. My kid is bleeding out in his mom’s house. It’s the result of bad decisions that my kid and my ex-wife have made.

The Blood of Divorce

The divorce was hard on everyone. One of my kids stayed close to me. One of my kids stayed close to Mom. That’s just how things worked out. You can guess which kid is having trouble.

Blood is a deep connection, but it’s not permission to mute, blunt, defer, avoid, ignore, put off, shun, or forget about. And I guess if you go literal on the idea, my kids are my blood relatives, but my ex-wife is not. She was a donor. She’s 50% of their blood. But she is her own family unit of chaos and dysfunction. And the home she has created over the last 13 years has produced a number of severe medical interventions for BOTH KIDS.

The Blood of Addiction

If my kid were addicted to heroin, I don’t think we’d be discussing IF we need an intervention. But my kid’s drugs of choice are Adderall(tm), pot, and Klonapin(tm). A trio of comfort and an attempt at self-medicating. It doesn’t work.

A harder truth is this: when one family member goes through treatment, the entire family goes through the same treatment. My ex and her husband must examine their role in the enablement and acceptance of drug abuse. And if my kid goes into treatment, guess who else is going to have to get clean and sober?

Addiction does not fk around. Addiction wrecks lives. Eliminates potential. And is the portal to suicide attempts and broken promises. There is no shortcut for a family entering an addiction treatment program. Even if the subject is my kid, our tribe includes both kids, myself, my ex-wife, and her husband. I’m not sure if they are resisting treatment because they know this, or because they don’t know this. I do know they’d rather not look at how their behavior and decisions have allowed this to bloom over the last 7 years.

Getting Clean

It’s amazing how the Universe works. I do believe in a higher power. And I believe my personal higher power helps me take more responsibility for the choices I make. My higher power has brought my kid back into my life with a cry for help. My ex-wife is unable to see through the fog of her own issues. They are trying to get my kid to “get a job.” They did not ask him to do that last summer while he vegetated in his room and smoked and played computer games.

In an interesting twist, I wrote a week ago about my newish #sobersummer plan to not drink for the rest of the summer. And here’s the twist, my other kid is doing a fitness program, and won’t be drinking for 35 days until college begins again. In other words, 2 of the 5 people involved in our family system don’t drink or smoke pot. That’s a start.

The road back to sobriety is a lifetime fight. I am here for my kids. I’m not sure who’s here for my ex and her husband.

Always Love,

John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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