caregiver help flower photo Yesterday Alex and I flew to Arizona for our Sanchez Kid & Grandkid Family Reunion in Sedona. On the plane I sat next to a very nice young man. Just making conversation, I asked if Phoenix was his final destination. He said, “No. I’m going to Orange County, California.” When I asked, “What’s taking you there?” He said, “Do you really want to know? His name is David. He’s 21 years old and he’s addicted to meth. He is headed to a residential rehab facility. He said he is going there to get clean because he wants to stop doing damage to himself and to others. I told David we’ve had family members who have suffered with addictions and that recovery is possible. I told him that meth is a monster, but he is not. I also told him the word that helped me break my 20+ year addiction to cigarettes. For years and years I had used cigarettes as a way of coping with my emotions. Whenever I was angry, frustrated, tense, or feeling any type of distress, rather than feeling the emotion and dealing with it, I lit a cigarette. After I divorced my raging alcoholic husband, I developed a new mantra. It was, “No person or thing will ever control me again.” “Control” was the word that helped me recover from my co-dependent relationship, and it’s the word that helped me break my addiction to cigarettes. As caregivers, we must accept that there are many, many people, situations and events over which we have absolutely no authority, influence, power or control. However, we do have the power to control our own thinking and our own actions. As we were landing I told David, “I can tell you are a nice man. You haven’t done anything that can’t be undone yet, and you deserve a better life than you can have if you continue to do meth. But here’s the thing – It doesn’t matter how much your mother or father want you to quit. It doesn’t matter how much money they invest, or how much time you spend in that facility; you will only be able to break this addiction if you believe you deserve a better life, and you want to do this for yourself.” He thanked me and we shook hands as we left the plane. My thoughts and prayers are with David today and with every other person who suffers with addictions to cigarettes, alcohol or drugs. Recovery is a hard road, but if he can believe that he is worthy, I’m confident he can break his addiction and start living a good life free from addiction.