Friday, September 7, 2012

Risk Taking in Recovery

After months, even years, of seemingly endless menu planning and cooking, sleep deprivation, sacrificing work and careers, our social life, and sometimes our own personal health, we feel more determined than ever to make sure it was worth it. We want to be able to say that we did everything we could for our children, because isn’t that what we, as parents, are programmed to do? So, it is normal that we would have fears about letting go.

The school year begins and with it sleepover invitations, camping trips, and unsupervised meals. College students eye programs abroad to broaden their academic experience. They go rafting, skiing, and climb mountains over their weekends. Not to mention the partying, late nights, and general stress of college life. So, how do we get comfortable with the idea of new freedoms and opportunities, which are potentially risky for their recovery? Wasn’t it easier, in a way, when we had them at home, all day every day, to feed, love and protect?

The only way forward for us was to take some risks and let go. Because without taking those chances, how would we know what progress had been made? And when things don’t turn out perfectly, it’s “feedback not failure.” It helps us make decisions in the future. Everyone is wiser, more aware. Trying-- and sometimes excelling, sometimes failing, is a life lesson in itself. If we never try, we’ll never know. And our children reap the benefits of their efforts as they realize that they can and do move forward - without our help. And as they experience life more fully, they learn that the benefits of recovery far exceed those provided by the illness. If they slip, we can scoop them up. Responsible risk taking is part of their journey. Maybe we can, at least once in a while, breathe, sit back, and smell the roses.

“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.” 
                                                                                                                        ~ Ann Landers

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