This is a place I come to where I am totally honest. About my feelings, about my life experiences and about the way I behave every single day. If you know me personally my writing here should reflect what you see when we meet on the street or we talk on the phone. I use this space to work towards unraveling my authentic self. Which, so far, has been a really wonderful exercise for me. So far. Although I sometimes wonder if I would be able to handle it if someone confronted me, or deeply criticized me about my writing. I continue to write and publish nonetheless.
This past week has been particularly emotional, there has been a lot on my mind. And today I am feeling sad. Like depressed and uneven. Like I need an emotional release…maybe a good cry?? This isn’t like me at all. I am usually a really upbeat/”look at the brightside”/everything happens for a reason kinda gal. Not that I wear rose colored glasses all the time, just that my usual demeanor is very positive. So I hope to God this passes, this…whatever it is…mood?.
I am trying to pinpoint exactly why I am feeling so sad today.
Things in my life changed this week, I am no longer working three days, I will now be working only one day. Which is good, because I am working with my favorite group of people on that one day…the families of the kids in our treatment facility. On top of that, I get to expand our family program, which I think is essential to the potential success we will have with our kids. You can’t hope to gain any ground with kids in a treatment program without educating and supporting their families at the same time. Why try to educate and give kids some coping skills just to return them to the same dysfunction that helped bring them into the treatment center in the first place, right? Makes no sense. So I am very grateful to continue to be involved in, and have a greater role in, supporting and educating the parents of the kids at our facility.
Thursday was my last night leading the adult group. It was a hard night. Like really mentally challenging and emotionally draining. I keep telling myself it’s because God wanted me to know it’s okay for me to take a step away from leading group. He intentionally gave me a difficult “last” night with my group. [BTW my husband teases me when I say things like this. He’ll say something like: “Oh and I suppose GOD allowed my clients to cut their ad budgets this year so we could put less under the tree because that’s not what really matters at Christmas time.” Love my husband’s sense of humor.]
Working with people that suffer from the disease of addiction is emotionally and mentally challenging. The desire to help them and the compassion/empathy/ability to be a great listener only go so far. Knowing you have little control over what happens when they aren’t in group is sometimes tough to let go of. Ultimately knowing each person controls their own destiny is humbling and sobering in and of itself.
And there are many days when I have felt I didn’t know enough to help. Which leads me to my last night of group.
There, that…that statement, that is the crux of my sadness. I am ashamed, yes ashamed, to say I did not have enough of the answers to help people with really big problems get what they need to find peace in sobriety. And even though I know I am not supposed to HAVE all the answers (or give them away…just lead the client to the best option for themselves) it doesn’t make it any less frustrating or depressing.
I tell myself what’s done is done. Look ahead to what you CAN do, don’t beat yourself up about what you don’t know and can’t do, right?!
I know I am going to find a way to make a difference and to contribute to this field by educating and supporting the families dealing with teens who are in substance abuse treatment. Because this problem, unfortunately, is only getting bigger.
Family dysfunction is on the rise. The factors that contribute to it are numerous: dual income, divorce, time constraints, competition to keep up with or excel above others, technology, parents having their own emotional issues and baggage, not to mention genetics.
The answer lies in awareness, consciousness in parenting and working through family problems. Time, energy, commitment, not giving up.
I feel better for writing this feeling, honesty helps me. I know I need to move on and engage with my husband and kids and go back to remembering all the good things in my life, today and everyday.