Kina, Families & Addiction Trust

Nathan's Blog- you are responsible for your own wellness

Posted on 3 November 2014 | 4 Comments

It’s five am and I can’t sleep. What makes it doubly frustrating is that I was so close to falling asleep earlier. I’d been drifting in that most wonderful of weightless environments, right on the cusp of leaving the last glimmer of consciousness behind, when a sudden sense of dread hijacked the process and wrenched me back to full wakefulness. Now I’ve been lying awake for hours while the fear gnaws away inside. What started as an ill-defined uneasy feeling has manifested itself into my becoming convinced my teenage son is in some kind of imminent danger. I’d try calling him except he never answers his phone to me these days, stuck as we are as bit actors in a conflict fuelled, pre-ordained script. I play the authoritarian lecturer, he plays the recalcitrant teen, and both of us seem incapable of escaping these roles. It wasn’t always this way and in my weaker moments I’m quite convinced that the appearance of this secretive, angry, and emotionally withdrawn boy must lie entirely in my parenting faults. This self-inflicted burden of culpability and the guilt and shame that accompany it, makes me extremely reluctant to talk to others about the emotional toll my son’s alcohol and drug use is having on me. When I do decide to open up, I find people often feel the need to hand out what I’m sure to them is simple, practical, and logical advice. Such advice always seems to start with, ‘Why don’t you do…, (insert a scenario you’ve already thought of a thousand times and probably tried futilely at least a hundred times of your choosing)…, that’ll help.’ This supposedly ‘simple’ advice is always centred in the idea of me doing some magical thing that will fix the situation. I find myself wanting to say, ‘wait, I don’t think you understand, there’s nothing I can do,’ before a horrible feeling of abashment washes over me for daring to think thoughts excusing myself of the responsibility for my son’s using. But that’s actually the point here. I’m not responsible for his alcohol and drug use! And, as much as I pander to these askew ideas that somehow it’s my responsibility to care-take, manage, and control my son, the only truly solid ground I can stand on is the ground where I take responsibility for my own health and well-being. Staying awake at night fretting about things I can’t control doesn’t help me, and it doesn’t ultimately result in any noticeable change in my son’s behaviour. In fact the more I allow my fears to rule me, the more prone I am to being completely stuck in the role of what my son sees as the fun police and my tendencies towards controlling him only end in my placing our already adversarial relationship under further strain. So what am I so afraid of?  I guess I’m haunted by the negative impact addiction has had on multiple generations of my family. There’s the ghost of my dead mother, an addict whose life was needlessly cut short at thirty one to serve as a constant reminder of potentially tragic outcomes. There’s also my own chequered history of substance abuse and the vivid recollections of near misses during a misspent youth. And, today, there’s my self-destructing teen on hand to provide me with ample evidence that addiction is in fact, a family disease. Chances are if you’re dealing with addiction in your family, there is probably more than one generation involved. Perhaps you grew up with an alcoholic or addict parent, have married an alcoholic or addict, or you’re witnessing addiction rearing its ugly head in your children. My hope is that the Kina Trust website, (which myself and some other good people have spent the last year working to create), will provide you with an encouraging and supportive environment and equip you with the information and advice you need to stay sane. Help is out there and available. It’s ok to give yourself a break, start caring for yourself, and ask for help. There is a way to cope with the heart wrenching despair of these painful family dynamics we often feel we have to hide from the world. The Journey through the darkness begins with you taking responsibility for your own wellness. 


  • Enjoyed reading your blog...I am a mother nursing a broken heart because my daughter is at long last in rehab...the feeling guilty the where did we go wrong? Am sick of trying to find the excuses and thankgoodness there are many parents who are in the same boat feel the same way...until they are ready to admit to themselves that they have a problem - only then can they move on......I cannot believe how big this problem is out there..where is it going to take the next generation?

    Posted by Kathleen Puahuire Sauer, 08/03/2016 3:56pm (5 years ago)

  • Nice to know that there is always hope - I as a mother, will never stop hoping that my daughter will pull herself out of the hole she has dug herself in - I pray that she gets herself the help she so desperately needs - I enjoy reading your story and the comments lol

    Posted by Kathleen Puahuire Sauer, 23/02/2016 2:08pm (5 years ago)

  • I am sooooooooooooooo proud of you. Thank you for giivng Hope to those who may otherwise not know there are options and people who care and empathize with their struggles. You both continue to be an inspiration to all of us who love you.

    Posted by Memduh, 26/11/2015 7:39pm (5 years ago)

  • From personal epereixnce, yes and no. Yes in the sense that if your think positively to which leads you to do engaging activities in that it forgets you from the negative thoughts. No if whatever your thought or negative worry is v. overpowering that nothing can wipe it out from your life e.g. having one week left til final exams and yet not have done ANY revision to which will determine whetever I get a place at a v. prestige university!Yes, psychologically speaking, positive thoughts have been proven by research, but that is usually by proffesional help in which your negative thoughts are sourced and dealt with e.g. psychoanalysis/CBTherapy. But still, if your negative thought or worry or even an epereixnce is v. eventful, then a positive approach still may not be helpful, though it's upto the person to not having to go back to the thoughts.Therefore, positive thought can work, depending on the person, and positive result can be seen because the negative would be eliminated and ignored.

    Posted by Chaitra, 31/03/2015 2:54am (6 years ago)

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