Friday, April 9, 2010

Sharing our Recovery with Our Children

I just finished this book and I thought it was fantastic. But I was most excited to see a chapter devoted to children, as I don't think this is talked about enough.

Here are a few quotes I liked.

...children need something more. It doesn't do us any good if someone else is recovering and we aren't. If our children have lived with parents with active alcoholism, food, or sex addictions, unresolved adult children issues, or with parents lacking the ability to deal with feelings and be nurturing, then our children may have these problems too. If our kids have lived with parents who have been in pain, then our children are probably in pain too.

Not every child from a dysfunctional family will have troubles in his or her life, but many will. Some will adapt and people please until they bottom out in mid-life. Some won't know they're in trouble until they've had enough time struggling through life and relationships to understand they aren't doing well at either. Some will crash head on at a young age into jails, mental institutions, and morgues.

One of these days, and maybe that day has already arrived, we're going to collectively slap ourselves on our foreheads and wonder why we're waiting for our children to grow up before we give them the hope of healing and recovery.

We don't have to wait until our children are addicted or in trouble to intervene. We don't have to wait until our children hate themselves before we begin to teach them how to love themselves.

What can we do in our families, schools, and communities to reach the children? What do they need? They need the same things we need on an age-appropriate level. The children need to lose their invisibility. They need to be recognized as people who need their own healing process...Children need to know about the effects of alcohol and other drugs, but they also need to learn how to stop their pain. They need to learn how to love, nurture, and accept themselves. They need to know the family problems are not their fault.

We need families, churches, schools, and communities filled with healthy people so our children will have healthy role models and adults to interact with. They need to be surrounded by people who are enjoying life and doing their own recovery work, so they can see what the good life looks and feels like.

...there is hope for our families, our children, and ourselves. I believe in recovery. I believe in changed lives. I believe in children. I even believe in childhood.

- Melody Beattie, Beyond Codependency, "Sharing our Recovery with our Children"

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