I was raised to be aware that sometimes I am going to mess up and I am not always going to make the right decisions. The key is to learn from those mistakes. But one of the most important lessons my parents taught me was that while I am going to make mistakes I am in control of my decisions and happiness.
My parents had already been through most of the landmines you worry about for your children; teen pregnancy, high school dropout, and experimenting with drugs. I couldn’t get away with anything. I didn’t even have a chance to make my own mistakes because they had already “been there, done that.” They knew every dangerous situation to avoid and they made sure I did just that. I am very aware of what my parents had to give up because of the choices they made. And I am very aware of how difficult life can become if you choose to head down a different path. Because of my parents, I have been very thoughtful of every decision in my life. There were times I would hear them preaching and I would want to run, just to not hear the “how hard it is to raise a child” speech again. In fact, I still hear that one!
Although I have never been an addict, I have worked in a rehabilitation clinic with adolescents who are. Many recovery programs are built on the philosophy much like what my parents taught me: Making a mistake is human, but learning from those mistakes is the key. Avoid dangerous situations, so you aren’t tempted to make a decision that you might regret. And most importantly, self-pity isn’t nearly as productive or rewarding as knowing that you are the controller of your destiny. Read this week’s communication for information on Relapse and Recovery.