“Pain is part of life. Suffering is an option.” Tony Robbins.

One of the massive challenges of having a teenager (or adult child) with a drug problem, is that Addiction comes to dominate your family. It worms its way into your consciousness, and with time, you can feel that it has won.

We start to feel very sorry for ourselves. “Why Me? Why our family? Is that it for the rest of our lives? Is there no escape?”

There is a way through. But here’s the thing. You have to dig your own escape tunnel.

One of the very effective things you can do is to take a break from thinking about yourself and divert your attention – for a short while at first – to other people. Caution: don’t divert attention to your family members. Look outside your family unit – otherwise you’ll get caught up in solving  problems for your other kids or your partner, doing far too much for them and neglecting your own needs. There’s a massive tendency for that to happen in families with Addiction. So if you look outside the family, it will help to break this tendency.

What we’re looking to achieve here is to help others out in the wider world.

Things you can do are as follows:

  • Help out in a soup kitchen.
  • Volunteer at your local hospital.
  • Visit an old person.
  • Go on a litter drive.
  • If you have been attending Al-Anon meetings – offer to help out. You can start with something as small as preparing the room for a meeting and putting out literature. Then you can progress to ‘doing service’. This will be things like chairing a meeting or giving a talk (‘share’). You can volunteer to become the literature rep, treasurer or secretary; you can offer to distribute Al-Anon leaflets in your local area.

The reason for looking outside yourself is – that you divert your attention from your suffering. That changes your energy, and the energy around you; you move out of being ‘stuck’. Think I’m talking airy-fairy nonsense? Then do it anyway, and regard it as an experiment. Then start noticing if things begin to change for you, by becoming a little easier

See if you feel as though that heavy feeling is lifting; does the person at the checkout smile at you? Does the family feel different? Does one of those phone calls you thought would be difficult go more easily than you thought it would? Notice what happens. Draw your own conclusions.

All I ask is that you keep an open mind.