Mourning the Loss of What Could’ve Been

Why is it so hard to give up on our dreams for our children?  We stare reality in the face every day and yet we still hold on to those hopes and dreams.

The day our kids are born we start making plans. We start squirreling away money into college accounts. We dream of smiling proudly as our child graciously walks across the stage at graduation. Nice, neat little homes in the suburbs with our grandchildren playing in the yard. Some of us even have the audacity to picture ourselves in the front row during a presidential inauguration on a cold January day in Washington.

It’s all possible for anyone.

Then we snap out of our dream and see our child addicted to drugs and wonder if the future is even obtainable anymore. We mourn the loss of what could have been. We experience suffering for our child because in our life and wisdom, we know the hardship of life even without personally struggling with an addiction. We cry, become depressed, and grieve this fading picture, never really giving up hope that the past will go away and we” somehow get a “do over”.

Finally, after months or even years, we realize that today is all we have right now and tomorrow can be just as worse as it can be better.

The next phase of our realization begins to become clear. These dreams were ours. That is why the pain is so great. We feel our dream slipping away. It’s such a shame that we see our child’s addiction as a failure to achieve our dream. Oh, I’m sorry, I mean “the ability to reach their potential” is the way we say it as parents.

All I wish for now is that my son has dreams of his own. His dreams and goals are his own. I don’t have to own them and I am not responsible for his success or failure.

Now, my hopes and dreams are that I can be a better father and that I will be regarded by little ones as the best grandpa in the world.

…..The world of what is versus the world of what ought to be.

Stories of Hope

The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids encourages you to share your stories. Give hope to families struggling with drug addiction.

story of hope
    User Picture

    Patti Herndon

    June 14, 2011 at 3:34 PM


    Hi Donna,

    In addition to Erin’s helpful feedback regarding potential resources at the Salvation Army, included above is a listing of National and State resources for half-way houses and sober living environments, etc..

    The first links content concerns screening and choosing an appropriate half-way house/sober living house for your circumstances. I am not personally familiar with the facilities listed, but would encourage you to read some on these kinds of resources, sharing with your son, and get a feel for whether the two of you believe an environment, such as this, might help your son engage the recovery process and serve to bring better balance in terms of life managment challenges associated with his substance use disorder. Also, I’m wondering if there would be any kind of benefit in speaking with the judge about the potential of placement in this kind of setting?

    Take in the info. above at your own pace. Though it’s an abundance of information, it will serve in helping you brainstorm for possible helps/supports for your circumstances.

    You are both blessed to have each other. Wishing you and your son smoother and smoother road. Believe that it can happen. It does happen. One mile at a time…

    Addiction is the journey. Recovery is the destination.

    User Picture


    June 6, 2011 at 7:09 PM

    Donna- The Salvation Army has some good programs and Regional Occupational Programs (ROPs) usually have very low-cost occupational training resources.

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