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Are You Running the Marathon Too?

father on front steps talking to daughter
Illustration © Eleanor Davis

I share with you some thoughts from the father of a young man:

Ahhh, the family trials and the family's emotional storm of addiction and recovery. It is trying. I liken it to a sustained endurance event. Like an ultra-marathon or a 100-mile cross country run ….. Periods of relative ease; then an incredibly demanding section.

A test of will calling for inner strength, desire, belief in oneself and faith.  As with any physical event — though this is more of a psychological event individual perseverance, endurance and drive is needed by the family members who wait for the return of their loved one.  

Slowly, through this whole process, if I am not careful and if I let my mind dwell on it too long, my son could morph into someone whom I could easily choose to stay separated from, someone whom I would not [otherwise] choose to associate with in my life: an energy drainer pulling the life out of me. Who would put themselves through this by choice?

Isn't that terrible to admit, about my own son? The only saving grace is that I know it’s the addictive personality I don't like — the personality that still shades our real son from us.

There is much that goes on in the life of a family member. In between the crises and the dead of night, there are the constant thoughts that can run rampant and that can feel endless, like a marathon. Taking the lead from this father, step back a little, put a little distance between your reactions to the situation and their emotional impact. Accept that the day will likely include such disturbances and prepare to manage the thoughts and feelings that emerge.

For help with stepping back, visit the Sanctuary.



In your comments, please show respect for each other and do not give advice. Please consider that your choice of words has the power to reduce stigma and change opinions (ie, "person struggling with substance use" vs. "addict", "use" vs. "abuse"...)