The cartoons in the “funny pages” of the paper are not just there to make us laugh. A cartoon is often the medium an artist uses to make us think. He uses it to make statement or moral point he wants to confer to his observers.
There was a Garfield cartoon earlier this week in The Oklahoman that I cut out and taped to my monitor to remind me that I’m OK.
Jon points his finger at Garfield and says, “You’re not perfect, you know.”
Garfield pauses to process this statement and thinks, “I must agree” but then he adds, “It is my one fault.”
First I had a chuckle, then I realized that I am just a person, not perfect, and I can own up to my faults, but I don’t have to carry the guilt of faults that are not really mine to own.
That’s pretty powerful if you think about it.
All parents look back at the way they raised their children and see mistakes they made, better ways they could have handled problems and crises than they did in the moment. Parents of addicted children are especially good at that. They heap blame and shame unmercifully on themselves. This is neither healthy nor helpful.
I have never met a parent mired in this world of addiction who did not enable his child. It is just a fact that, even after having read every book on addiction, attended Families Anonymous and/or Al-Anon meetings, had personal counseling by a licensed therapist, you will, on occasion, still enable your child. You do the very best you can, reaching out with love and encouragement, and there is no blame or shame in that.
Nothing you did drove him to make the choices he made.
Forgiveness of our loved one is a first step toward our own healing, our personal recovery. But the next step is to put the mistakes you thought you made with your child in the past. We did what every parent would do, has done and will continue to do, as they grope with the insane world of addiction.
I encourage you to focus your forgiveness on your addicted child.
No forgiveness is necessary for you!