I couldn’t figure out why there were times my teen loved one looked exhausted, beat up, down, hung over- well, this blind mom would learn years later, it was because she was hung over. There were nights of sneaking out, drinking, underground fighting, and who knows what. I never knew. I was completely naive to the real life going on right under my nose.
One day I even said, “Man, you look like death(that hung over look). Go shower, do your hair, put your makeup on. You’ll feel better.”
That would be used against me one day to say I made her feel ‘not good enough’. Had I known what was going on behind my back- I certainly would have expressed her secret life was NEVER good enough!
As an adult, my loved one knows I’m a motivator and encourager. As a child living on the edge as a teen, my words were cutting. When we live a secret life (at any age), many innocent comments feel condemning.
Because we condemn ourselves knowing we are living in the wrong. If we’ve been raised with any moral compass, then we will feel the tension when it goes south.
Those silly teen mistakes escalated over the years, but my role of encourager never changes. I still try to communicate worth and positive hope into a difficult situation that looks hopeless at times.
I can’t make someone else care about themself. I can’t change their self-talk, thoughts, and beliefs. The toxic scope of self loathing that occurs in long-term substance use and addiction is impenetrable. A program that doesn’t include help in this area of self awareness and love will fail every time.
To my loved one,
You deserve recovery! You deserve help and healing! Your choices of the past do not have to define your future. There is a way forward into sobriety. You are not invisible, silent, or incapable. You are a voice of purpose, hope, healing, and recovery! You are seen and heard, even through your quiet reproach. I believe you are worthy of freedom and happiness. You are amazing and your love for humanity must now become a love you’ve not given in the past- to yourself. You are loved and I love you.
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