Reading from Hazelden a while back:
I Did Not Cause It
I did not cause my child to become an addict. As a parent, I don’t possess that power.
When my children were little, I imagined I had all kinds of power. I could decide when it was time for their nap–but they might play in their cribs instead of sleeping. I could serve up a healthy dinner–but if they didn’t want to eat the small mound of lima beans on their plates, They Did Not! I could teach my children right from wrong and good from bad, but my word alone often wasn’t enough, and they experimented to see how those rights and wrongs worked. It soon became clear that while I could be their guide, my children were going to be who they were meant to be. My real power as a mother was simply to love them. (And to annoy them and make them mad.) As a parent, I was perceived to be too nosey, too clingy, and, on occasion, not clingy enough. I hurt my children’s feelings. I made them feel angry, sad, unheard, and misunderstood. At times I hovered like a helicopter mom–at other moments I might have flown too far away.
I am an imperfect mom. But imperfect parenting does not cause children to become addicts.
If that were so, every child would grow up to be an addict.
Too many people are spoiling their existence carrying needless guilt and shame.