Something that just about anybody who's living a life in recovery can relate to is having a feeling of guilt or shame for what we put the people closest to us through while living in active addiction. Be it our family, romantic partners, children, or close friends. Almost all the reflections of their pasts that people share with me include a portion containing remorse for how we treated these people..Or how these people were affected by our choices.
I am no different. I have spent a lot of time and effort making amends, with changes in actions and decisions, to the people I had lied to, stolen from, stressed out, or affected in some negative way during my active addiction. But let me tell you..Karma will really fill in those places you miss, "forget", or are having difficulty taking action to make those amends with.
I've been experiencing this recently with my teenage son. He has been creating challenges for himself, specifically, in his school life. There have been some angry outbursts and use of vocabulary that the school system he attends doesn't exactly appreciate. As a result, he has some discipline that doesn't only affect him, but myself and those closest to him as well.
“Well, well, well how the turntables.” -Michael Scott
It did to me...
Now even though the obstacles that my son is creating aren't substance-related like my own were..They are drawing a very close parallel to how I affected the people around me in the challenges my choices made during my war with Substance Use Disorder and the mental health challenges that followed it. This being the case, I have had the blessing of being able to notice this, as well as have others in my life draw that parallel to help me pinpoint where I can help my son. Something I desperately needed in my own past struggles.
For this, I am very thankful for my past and how I can use it to try and help him through his struggles now. I am incredibly grateful for the insights of those around me. That includes peers I've shared my frustrations with, my therapist(That I never would have gotten without my SUD challenges), and family members who vividly remember what I was going through before my life in recovery. Without the self-awareness and spatial awareness I've gained in my recovery journey, I wouldn't be able to be the father I am today.
A life in recovery has given me the ability to use my past to be a better father and help my son navigate the obstacles of adolescence. That Karma, I welcome with open arms.