In an ironic and twisted way, my son’s addiction, as painful as it has been for me, is also the gift that completely changed my life. ~ David Cooke
I met David Cooke recently online and was immediately drawn to his story and his message.
Like so many amazing parents that I meet these days, David is the father of a son who is in recovery.
David’s journey is similar to many, yet it has a unique twist that will inspire you to do more to help yourself. He started with a goal to find strength and clarity about his son’s addiction, realizing that a “good, mind-clearing workout”, a commitment related to exercise as well as a push outside his comfort zone would help to give him a break from the stress and allow him to focus on what was the most important in his life.
I just read David’s book, Behind the Dumpster. It not only inspires, but gives the reader encouragement to support themselves as they travel through this often treacherous journey with our kids.
It is the story of a father’s commitment and love for his son, despite the pain that can sometimes feel overwhelming. It is a book of hope.
There are so many inspiring lines and quotes from the book. Since I post a quote on my Treatment Talk Facebook page everyday, you will be seeing quotes from David in the future. Here is another example:
There are those who unknowingly stay on the same course and there are those who, in blind faith, trust there is a better, different path and take it.
Please welcome David Cooke!
Three years ago I embarked on an adventure that completely changed my life for the better.
After eighteen months of living with the hurt, pain, confusion, and chaos of my son’s heroin addiction, I realized that every day I enabled his addiction related life it was destroying mine.
My health, my business, my relationships and my psyche was systematically falling apart as a result of my commitment to save my son even though he wasn’t ready, interested in, or willing to do it for himself. It took me a long time to come to the realization there was nothing I could do to save my son until, or unless, he was willing to commit to saving himself, first.
On this definitive morning I began a new journey in a quest to reclaim my life and define a new path for success despite this adversity in my life.
I committed to riding my bicycle for at least one hour a day for one hundred consecutive days. Though I did not know where this would lead me, the focused commitment associated with this challenge took me on a new path and a different mindset that ended up being exactly the transformational journey I needed in my life.
From that very first ride, I found inspiration, energy, and opportunity in distancing myself from my son’s addiction. Though the pain and the hurt never really went away – it never does – I discovered a sense of confidence, clarity, and purpose for my existence in those early morning, meditational rides.
When I returned from that first ride, I was inspired by this thought that I came to me on that very first morning bike ride.
No matter how dark the present appears, I live for the promise of the future, celebrating the opportunities created through my passion and my gifts.
This is how I live and celebrate my life, in my daily recovery from my son’s addiction. Though I still suffer from the pain and the hurt of the struggles my son faces in his addiction, it does not define who I am, what I have been called to do, or the gifts I have been given to accomplish it.
Today, I celebrate my son’s one hundred and fiftieth day of recovery. I pray that it lasts long after I am gone and I hope that he stays on this path of progress and opportunity.
In the meantime, I am celebrating over eleven hundred days of my own recovery – the day I regained control over my life and gave myself the opportunity of strength, courage, joy, and peace in the face of those things that trouble and pain me most.
My advice to parents who are suffering, hurting, and lamenting the experiences of addiction in their lives and in their family is to find your recovery. Your ability to live your life, celebrate the gifts you have been given, and to find peace in the chaos gives you the strength, clarity, and purpose to endure and grow.
Hopefully your child will find their way back to you where you will celebrate your ability to be there for them. If you allow their addiction to destroy you, there is nothing left for them to hang on to when they need you.
The best gift you can give, besides your unconditional love, is to be strong for them when they are present and stronger for yourself when they are not!
To learn more about David Cooke, check out his website, 100 Pedals, Recovery for Parents of Addicts, which is a non-profit resource for Moms and Dads and other family members of addicts and if you can, donate to his Go Fund Me project, Recovery Support for Parents of Addicts. You can follow David on Facebook and on Twitter.
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