Book Review: Recovering My Kid

Recovering My Kid
Recovering My Kid

I like books.  I especially like books that teach me things.  Call me a nerd if you wish, but I read books the same way I watch television.  If I am not getting anything from it, I am not interested.  Not to say I don’t read fiction, I do.  However, given I have a short attention span (still not admitting I have ADD!) a book or show really has to grip me – unless I am learning.

I was recently asked to review ‘Recovering My Kid’ by Joseph Lee, M. D. I was skeptical at first, but as I read I was fascinated by the wealth of information and  tools to help any parent suffering through the addiction of their child.

Below you will find my favorable review.  The book is available on Amazon and Hazelden.

Recovering My Kid: Review

There are three parts which consist of forty-five chapters in the helpful book “Recovering My Kid” by Joseph Lee, M.D.  The first part is ‘Frameworks for Emotional Objectivity’, the second is ‘Frameworks for Leadership’ and the third, ‘Frameworks for Understanding Mental Health.’ The book really takes a hard look at how parents can help or hurt when a child is in the throes of addiction and/or alcoholism.

What is wonderful about this book is the broken down parts.  Also, at the end of each chapter there is a ‘bottom line’ and thought-provoking questions either for journaling, discussion with a partner or a group dynamic.

Frameworks for Emotional Objectivity

This part will fascinate anyone who wants to know the emotional turmoil of dealing with an addicted child.  The chapters cover different aspects of emotional baggage, enabling and codependency.  As a mother in recovery with an addicted child, I found myself highlighting parts of this chapter.  Guilt is a bullet point as Dr. Lee discusses how it can hinder any parent with the best intentions.  Dr. Lee gives examples of emotional objectivity along with enabling behaviors that could be misconstrued as helping your child. There is also a focal point on how leaning too far to the rigid, disciplinary side can hinder a child’s development and sabotage the child’s recovery.

Frameworks for Leadership

Boundaries and consistency are the main focal point of this section.  Let’s be honest, without boundaries and consistency, you’re raising a spoiled time bomb that could detonate at any moment.  Dr. Lee even asks the painful question: ‘Do I kick my kid out of the house?’ and discusses what your bottom line is. Having (and sticking to) a bottom line is paramount when handling an addicted child.  It is so easy to get drawn across that makeshift line in the sand and make any work up until point a waste of time.

Frameworks for Understanding Mental Health

While the first two sections of this book are packed with useful information and key questions for reflection, the final section is paramount because people cannot deal with something they do not understand.  Imagine being thrust into a situation without any education on it and being told, “Okay, handle this.” You’d probably scratch your head while your eyes darted around in a panic. Part three is the key to grasping the “how and why” of your child’s mental development and keeping a clinical mind while in an emotional upheaval.

In summary, addiction is a rough road for anyone involved.  There are several lines parents cross while they try to assist their child because it is so brokenheartedly painful.  ‘Recovering My Kid’ gives clear-cut information and steps to help through the process.

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What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger

image: idlehearts.com
image: idlehearts.com

What a cliché, right?  The first time I actually heard this saying was in the movie “Kiss of Death” with David Caruso.  David’s character was the one who said it and the phrase kind of echoed in my brain every moment since then when things got a little (or a lot) rough.

Also, “Stronger” is a great uplifting song by Kelly Clarkson.  Check it out of you haven’t heard it.  You’ll like it, I’m sure.

But I’m not here to talk about Kelly or David.  I am here to talk about the hurdles we face, the doubts that creep and the life stuff that keeps on happening even when we just want to slam the door shut and get five minutes of peace.

You see, I feel like God keeps testing me and my faith.  Is it a test of how sincere I am in my willingness to change and hand stuff over?  Maybe.  I don’t know.  I do try to hand stuff over on a daily basis.  I pray every morning and every night and I always ask God for the knowledge of His will and the power to carry it out.  That is another blog post entirely, because I still struggle with that. What is God’s Will?

I always try to do the next right thing, keep my word and help others.  There is a lot of truth in the fact that if I always do these three things, I will always have a great day and will feel truly blessed.  And it really happens that way for me, until something upsets me.

Usually I try to figure the crap out by myself through journaling or talking with friends.  Tonight I tried something different.  I called my al-anon sponsor.

That was the best idea I had in the last three weeks.

The things that won’t kill me and have the capacity to make me stronger are those life events that I think I can’t handle, but wind up handling.  I then look back and say, “Wow.  How did I get through that?” You’ve said it, too.  Those painful, disturbing chaotic life events that happen to us – sometimes gradually, sometimes immediately – and take us to a realm of being we’ve never experienced before.  We get through them; all of them.  And when we come out on the other end, that’s exactly what we ask ourselves:  how did I get through that?

I think analyzing such things is pointless.  To reflect would be okay, but analyzing kind of kills the element that you did get through that thing you thought you never could.  Basking in the moment of triumph would probably feel a whole lot better.  Analyze later.

Was there ever a moment you thought you could not go on but managed to get through?  How did you feel afterwards?

Keeping It Real

serenity
serenity (Photo credit: dragonflaiii)

So I was watching the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) this morning and there were all these fascinating episodes that dealt with “self.” Like, how we treat the self, how outside events impact the self and so much stuff I went out and bought a book by one of the people Oprah was interviewing.  “The Untethered Soul” by Michael A. Singer.  The book is to liberate us from a contained self-image.

Based solely on the interview, the information I gathered from the show and snippets of the book I scanned, I have hope that this book will break me through my final barrier… me.

I have always tried to keep it real.  I’ve tried to remain grounded in all I do, say or feel along with trying to be there for anyone who crosses my life path. But there are these things, these feelings, that get in the way on a consistent basis.  And when I let my head get the best of me, I am no longer keeping it real per say, but getting sucked into a myopic array of disillusionment which takes me back to that dark room of self-loathing.

Yeah, pretty messed up stuff.  The more messed up part of all this crap is that I project this putrid bile onto other human beings.  Instead of just being in a moment or looking at things for what they are, I tend to read deeper into whatever is going on and then I project my thoughts, insecurities and the like others.

This leads to:

  • self-doubt
  • self-loathing
  • insecurity
  • feeling less than
  • depression
  • self-sabotage
  • resentment

That is a pretty hefty list of awful feelings, ideals and all around yuckiness.

Lately, I have been way up in my head.  This is a tough place for me when I am trying to live a life of peace.  My head is not peaceful.  It is constantly chattering, whispering and telling me rotten things.  I believe these things.  I give my thoughts weight and that is when the horrible list above comes into play.  I used to drink and drug to get rid of these thoughts and feelings.  Drinking and drugging is not an option for me.

This is why I bought the book.  My thoughts (and yours) are so automatic, I never question them.  You’ve heard the saying, “I think, therefore I am.” UGH!!! How awful is that? I certainly do not want to be what I think!  My twelve-step program helps ( a lot!) but lately I just feel like I need an added tool.

As I go through this book (highlighting sentences and paragraphs like I always do) I will be updating my blog with what I have learned and if any of it is making sense.  It made sense on Oprah’s show, therefore, I am sure it will make sense.

Also, I signed up for 21 Day Meditation Challenge.  It is free and looks like a lot of fun.  Check it out!

How do you battle your demons?