How to Navigate Through a Parenting Nightmare

by | Nov 29, 2021 | what you can do

photo cred. El Mehdi Rezkella on unsplash

This is the testimony of a mom who has been part of a Hope for Hurting Parents support group for the last 5 years. She wanted to share her story to give you hope for yours.

“I’m a wife and mother of two grown children. I want to tell you about the most painful part of my parenting journey and what has helped me navigate through my nightmare.

My daughter began to abuse drugs as a teenager. Her use escalated into adulthood when she became addicted to more dangerous substances, including crystal meth. This led her into poverty, abusive relationships, and nearly cost her life.

When I discovered how desperate her situation had become, I was shocked and angry. Full of shame, I felt alone. Depressed, I didn’t want to leave my home. Well-intentioned friends would ask, “How is your daughter?” I couldn’t bear to admit the truth:

She wasn’t okay and neither was I.

I Didn’t Need to Go Through this Alone

Everyone else’s life and children looked perfect. Convinced I must have been a terrible parent to end up with a child who’s dependent on drugs, I wondered what I did wrong. I drug my guilt with me throughout every day and night…alone

I suffered in isolation with my grief and inner torment for years. Finally, a ray of light appeared in the darkness when a friend from church recommended I go to a Hope for Hurting Parents support group. This group was the light that shone down, bearing witness to my raw pain and unfiltered suffering. Rather than extend judgement, they offered me a hand. They wore their own hardships openly and showed me that I didn’t need to go through this alone.

One time, when texts and phone calls to my daughter were not responded to for weeks, I was certain the next incoming call would be the authorities telling me she was dead. Night after night, I laid awake shedding tears of anguish and grief for the daughter she had been and for the daughter she would never be. But I took some comfort knowing I was not alone anymore.

How Hope for Hurting Parents Helped

My Hope for Hurting Parents (HHP) community listened with compassion, offered prayers and consolation, and walked beside me on the long, slow road through my pain. They helped me realize I was not responsible for my daughter’s problems. Substance abuse is a disease and no amount of money or help from me could get her out of her impossible situations or save her.

I’ve been part of a HHP group now for more than five years. We tell new-comers that we are not professional counselors, advisors or experts. We are parents, just like you, going through a painful experience and we’re here to listen, to unburden you of your shame, and help you walk a path toward healing.

I learned from my group that we weren’t meant to do this alone. Even the heaviest, darkest moments of our lives can be lifted by the love and support of a caring community who feels your pain as familiar as their own.

Helping Others

photo cred. Jackson David on unsplash

Since my involvement with HHP, I’ve even been able to offer help to other parents of prodigals. I’m grateful for the opportunity to receive and bless others in their darkest hour in the same way I was in mine. An advanced degree isn’t needed to know how to hold space for each other’s grief. All that’s needed is someone who knows the hurt themselves who’s willing to help.

I’m relieved to say that my daughter has been sober for more than two years now. She lives independently, has a job, and is slowly stitching together a life for herself no longer consumed by her addiction.

As for me, I look on from afar, relentlessly reminding her that I love her, but distancing myself for her benefit and mine. I’ve able to navigate through my parenting nightmare, let go, and let God work. My daughter’s story isn’t finished yet, and thanks to Hope for Hurting Parents, I see that neither is mine.”

*** What has helped you navigate through your parenting nightmare?***


Recommended Resources:

You Are Not Alone by Dena Yohe

Hope for Hurting Parents Facilitator Guide by Tom and Dena Yohe

A free sample is available to download from our website on the Support Groups page, under Parent Resources. Scroll to the bottom of the page to find the form to complete.

Hope for Hurting Parents Parent Notebook by Tom and Dena Yohe

The Center for Motivation and Change: The Intersection of Science and Kindness