Is there a 4th C of addiction? Contribution
I have tossed the following topic around in my head for a few weeks knowing that the discussion comes from a place of judgment. I try hard not to judge but …
The three C’s of addiction state: I didn’t Cause it; I can’t Cure it; I can’t Control it.
We must let our addicted loved ones recover on their own terms. I wholeheartedly have embraced the “Three C’s” and truly feel much of our children’s addiction is beyond our parental control. I believe in the disease model of addiction that some are born with predisposition to become addicted.
I have attended family support groups, read different message boards, and scoured many blogs written by far more intelligent parents than me. I have been around the addiction “block” a few times, and understand that I am still learning. Hopefully I will continue my education and maintain the practicality that each day should be taken individually. I work my recovery pretty consistently, and part of that recovery work is to blog and share what I have learned and/or feel with others, to hopefully make their journey easier.
My question for the readers of this Addiction Journal blog: “Is there a 4th C of addiction?”
Is the 4th C – Contribute? Do we contribute to our child’s addiction if we raise them in less than desirable circumstances?
In the book America Anonymous http://www.americaanonymous.com/blog/ there is a quote on page 106 that reads:
… many addiction researchers, who liken addiction to other chronic diseases –Type II Diabetes, cancer, and cardio vascular disease — that may have a genetic component and an onset and course that vary depending on behavior or environmental factors.
If environmental factors can influence addiction, could “less than desirable parenting styles” be a contributing environmental factor to a child’s addiction? If a child is raised in a home where lawlessness and erroneous behaviors are the norm, is there not a potentially higher chance their child could become afflicted with the disease of addiction?
Perhaps subconsciously I wish to somehow distance myself from the parents that raised their child in chaos. I think many parents do this on some level.
I resent the judgments from those in society who condemn all families with addicted children, as “bad side of the tracks” families. The non-addict parent makes their argument about bad kids, and then supports their argument with an example of a less than desirable family situation that “produced” an addicted child. “This would never happen in my home” is their belief.
There exists a complex socioeconomic class system in the United States and those with a higher social status and no addicted children, judge the lower class with addicted children. Some in the upper class who have never dealt with addiction first hand state “Little Jaime would not be a “junkie” had her parents done a better job raising her.”
On some deep dark level I partially agree with these judgmental finger pointers. It is the broad brush they paint ALL of our addicted children with, which I cannot agree with. The entry points for addicted children and family members are varied with no “one size fits all” labels that can be applied. The labeling truly comes from a lack of understanding on their part.
I am a parent who raised my children in a middle class home, where alcohol and drugging were not tolerated. My house was a home where parents did not return to the home after a long day of work and inebriate themselves. This was a home where both parents worked white-collar jobs. The children were taught values and morals in this home. Education and morality were the cornerstones of our child raring.
Yet despite his upbringing, my son became a heroin addict. I refuse to own or think that I have contributed to his addiction. His is the disease ignited by poor adolescent choices. Is my kid better or less sick than any other? No! Could I have stopped his addiction? No! He was the typical suburban kid, consumed with all things Americana; rap music, girls and testing limits!
Addiction in America has gripped all class levels by the proverbial balls! Suburbia and inner city kids are not the only ones to fall prey to the monster called addiction. Heroin, Oxycontin, Crack, Coke and pharmaceutical abuse is gripping middle class America and upward. The epidemic has victimized judges’, politicians’, and doctors’ children. Our nursing field is wracked with addiction. Addiction does not care about its host child’s socioeconomic status; it simply needs a place to live, feed and wreak havoc.
Those of us, who did not raise our child in chaos, find comfort in the above fact! Misery on some level, loves its classy company. Knowing that addiction does not discriminate based on social or economic boundaries, somehow distances us from the chaotic child rearing parents raising kids in pandemonium that live “down the street.” We feel comfort in the fact that we “did our jobs as parents.”
Unfortunately the addiction demon simply could care less how you raised your child. If the predisposition exists, addiction will find it, use it, and attempt to steal your child’s soul.
I resent the association to the Budweiser can-holding, wife-beater dressed father screaming “Yo! You mutha f*cker, put down that god damn needle! You are such a piece o’ sh*t”. After his loving intervention, dad then proceeds to finish the other 23 beers snuggled in his Ted Nugent Coolie.
I was not that father!
(If you relate to “Ted Nugent Dad” you may wish to stop reading this blog. I apologize for my brashness.)
I assume that Ted Nugent Dads and Joan Jett Moms probably are not seeking out answers on an addiction blog and won’t ever be offended by this post. I could be wrong, but I’ll take my chances. My parent targeted Addiction Journal is always a take what you want and leave the rest blog site.
I interact with other parents of addicts, both on the internet and face to face, and after some interactions I ponder, “Did their child even have a chance?” These parents live their lives addicted to their own vices and left their latch key child to fend for themselves in the formative years of adolescence. Their child was easy prey for the demon of addiction as mom and dad stared back at the child, glassy eyed as a result of their own addiction chaos. I cringe when these parents advocate for our children, much preferring the mom or dad who can string a literate sentence to be our spokesperson.
There are so many well written blogs on the subject by people who fight bravely for our kids each day. To those people, I tip my hat.
I have learned our children are predisposed to addiction; Dry fields waiting for the lit cigarette or match of addiction to be tossed. I do wonder if some parents did not inadvertently saturate those dry fields with gasoline with their questionable parenting styles.
The parenting styles I question are the methods of those individuals who routinely abuse alcohol and drugs in their home, oftentimes directly in the presence of their children. I speak of parents who work white or blue-collar jobs and return home each evening to soak themselves in Budweiser; parents that are routinely inebriated or high as they attempt to lecture their child on wise decisions; Percocet parents so enmeshed in the grips of their own addiction they can not even see the light. The children of these parents are soaked with the lighter fluid of addiction!
More infuriating to me is the parent that uses opiates or other drugs with their children! Their child becomes an addict and they suddenly are seeking support at the nearest Al-Anon meeting. These parents simply didn’t walk the walk and now society lumps my parenting in with theirs? Not if I have anything to say about it! These parents are definitely collaborators and co-conspirators with addiction.
My son told me of a party house he would often visit. The homeowner’s parents were physically at the home, not merely observing, but actually partaking in the drugging right along with my son. The family lives in my neighborhood and every time I see either parent it takes all I have not to “share” my thoughts. These neighbors have a father on disability, and a son in his late 20s who is unemployed and also an addict. They did not cause my son’s addiction. I feel my son would have stumbled upon his addiction without their interaction, and today he is strong enough to own his addiction. But this scenario and family dynamics is wrong on so many levels. Part of my psyche goes to a very dark place when I see these neighbors. I too work my recovery a day at a time. My judgment remains private, yet it exists! Again … I must continue to work my recovery.
The police officers that would show up at my home in the early years of my son’s addiction often had a prejudiced view of the type of parent they would encounter upon their arrival. You could almost see that they were not ready for the “Choices and Consequences” point of view they stumbled upon when they met me. If my son had made bad choices due to his drugging, I had learned not to protect him, and I didn’t.
The police, ready for a battle with a “Ted Nugent Dad,” were quickly disarmed by my somewhat detached approach to my child’s drug addiction. I would not be the parent who blames the police or society for my son’s poor choices. His continued drugging was both his decision and his disease to own. He was taught very early that his consequences could end with incarceration or death. Those were, and still are the stakes of the addiction war and there are far too many parents touting the “not my kid” mantra!
Does that parent who continues to enable their child have some level of accountability to their child’s disease? Absolutely! To me a parent who parties with their child is as guilty as an arsonist who saturates a home with gasoline.
If your child is now addicted, deal with the present. We cannot change what happened in the past. We must work in the present and towards our future.
When you look at my child or other addicts, understand that not all addicts came from the wrong side of the tracks. Many of our children were raised properly. The tracks running up and down your child’s arm could exist due to the pharmaceutical economic bed pairings on Wall Street.
But, if you partied with your kids and raised them in chaos … this dad’s opinion is that you “reap what you sow.”
appended May 2012 I had attended an Al anon meeting this past week which prompted me to revisit this post. The moderator mentioned that there is a 4th C in that groups opinion. Perhaps I was harsh in Feb of 2011..perhaps their perspective of the 4th C is enabling and codependency. The moderator never expounded.
This is why I write…this is why I read. It’s a journey and we are all learning the answers and treatments that will help our own recovery.
A related post – http://stepwork.activeboard.com/t3479285/4th-step-al-anon/
peace and strength
Categorised as: Relationships