Adapting To Our Weaknesses
A couple of years ago in 1st grade, my youngest son, Aaron, had some of the worst adolescent anxiety regarding school that I had ever witnessed. It was absolutely heartbreaking.
In an effort to satiate that anxiety, we would often forego the morning bus ride and I'd drive him directly to school. Once there, he would inevitably meltdown in the car; "Mom, please! I don't want to go to school! I'm scared! I just want to stay home with you!" Consumed with fear, there was no room left for connecting, learning or even the fun that those early elementary years offer.
But even though those times were incredibly hard, we were learning.
It was messy, but we were learning.
For me, I learned that as much as I wanted to 'save' my child from the anxiety of school, I couldn't. But what I could do, was instill in him the belief that he was safe. That I was always there. That I loved him, and that at the end of the day I would be there for him, ready and waiting to hear about his day. I instilled in him the belief that his teacher was his advocate, that the office staff were his advocates, and that the school psychologist and principal were also his advocates.
And because of that, he learned that at any time he could ask for a time out and step outside in the hall to calm himself. Or he could ask to go see the school psychologist and talk through his feelings with her. Or he could ask to go to the office and call his mom so he could hear her voice in an effort to feel grounded; "Just two more hours buddy, you got this. I know you can do it. You are rocking this! I can't wait for you to get home so I can hear all about your day. I love you!"
He also learned that he couldn't control his emotions around me, so he asked me to not volunteer in his classroom and chaperone field trips. Because he not only recognized, but embraced and adapted to his weakness.
What a profound lesson in his life, but also in recovery.
We don't get to choose our weaknesses.
We can't control our weaknesses.
There is no choice as to when or how they rear their ugly head.
But we can learn to adapt to them.
And in doing so, we filter power to the adaptation—or strength—rather than the weakness.
To the coping mechanism, rather than the trauma.
To our recovery, rather than to our addiction.