The Boxing Gloves

A Parents Battle with their Child’s Addiction

By Donna Marston, CRSW

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 creep 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, emotional and or physical abuse 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, they feel like they’ve been punched in the heart, because their heart is broken into so many pieces, they’re desperate to figure all this out all while dealing with feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.

When I was fighting the battle of my life, I truly thought because I was his Mother, I could defend myself against the blows of his addiction and counter with my own strength to bring back the champion, I knew my son was.

A champion shows who he is by what he does when he’s tested. When a person gets up and says “I can still do it," he’s a champion.
Evander Holyfield
Professional Boxer

Truth be told, for years it was like I had an enormous boulder that I was fighting with to get it to go up hill all by myself.  I was cornered, disoriented, furious and emotionally wounded; but as long as I kept dodging punches, I wasn’t facing the truth, I wasn’t finding my footing, and I wasn’t stepping into the ring to encounter the battle of my life, rescuing my son from his addiction.

It ain’t about how hard you can hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.
Rocky Balboa played by Sylvester Stallon
The movie Rocky is based off of a real-life boxer

It took years before I understood that I couldn’t love my son into recovery and it took me years to hit my enough and when I did, I knew it was time to unlace my boxing gloves and take them off and start to restore my sanity and my health.  I slowly 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 unhealthy helping. I surrounded myself with positive people in an atmosphere that felt good to be around and most important I stopped allowing myself to be the victim and a human punching bag.

No matter how hard the fight is, never give up, because you never know when the miracle of recovery will happen. Today, I am a support coach for parents who have a child in active addiction and my son has been in recovery for over 16 years.

May Your Faith and Strength Heal Your Heart!

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