Guest Article addressing addiction
Seniors in Addiction Recovery: Making Amends and Reclaiming Your Life this Holiday Season
Photo Credit: Jessica Monte, Stock Snap
With the holidays approaching, we enter a time of the year when emotions can run high. The holiday season is meant to be festive and fun, but it is not always joyous. Sometimes parents do something that ruins the relationship with their children, and the holiday season is a painful reminder of the relationship that they lost. If you are one of these individuals, follow some tips to turn this year into the year that you make amends and reclaim your life and your relationship.
“Children, by their nature, want to love their parents. That longing never leaves,” says Huffington Post. There are many reasons why parent-child relationships become estranged, but reunion is always at least a possibility. However, it is typically not going to just happen. If you have made a mistake, you will need to make a solid effort to try to rebuild those bonds. For example, if you’re a senior who has struggled with addiction in the past, it’s not too late to make amends, even if your past substance abuse created a rift.
Making amends is a process, and you start by apologizing. Own up to your mistakes and shortcomings. Say that you are sorry and ask what you can do, if anything, to set right the wrong you did. Once you have apologized, you have to hold out hope that your child will forgive you and accept your apology. The timetable for that acceptance and forgiveness is not up to you, but is solely up to your child.
Let go of your expectations. Even if you apologize, there is no guarantee that you will be forgiven, and even if you are forgiven, your child may still not want you in his or her life. Remember that you are not apologizing so that the relationship will improve; you are apologizing because you are genuinely sorry and wish to portray that remorse. However, you should also remember that your sobriety and happiness do not depend on anyone else but yourself, so do not let your disappointment result in a relapse.
Try to understand how your child wants to receive love. People express and receive love in different ways, and if you want to work on mending the relationship, you have to “speak your child’s love language.” If your child equates quality time to love, then showering him or her with gifts will not show your love and may make your child feel as though you are not listening to or thinking of his or her wants and needs.
If your child is struggling to forgive you or welcome you back into his or her life, acknowledge that your child’s perspective is valid. You may wonder whether or not your child can see that you are really trying. While your child may recognize your efforts, that does not make his or her pain disappear. Accept this as a fact, and let your child speak openly about the ways in which he or she was hurt or is hurting.
If you want the relationship to prosper, then you must put in the effort to mend the fences. Even if your child is open to your apology and building a relationship with you, the work is still yours to do. If the relationship is truly important to you, keep working on yourself and reaching out in healthy ways. If you are doing the work, there is always a chance, and eventually, your child may respond positively if you’re consistent. While making amends isn’t easy, reclaiming your life, sobriety, and relationship will be well worth the effort.