I have a very close friend who is behind me on this journey of parenting a child with addiction issues. I see her struggles to manage it and try to fix it. If only she could find the right school, the right friends, the right (fill in the blank) then all of this would get better.

When I say she is behind me, I do not mean any judgment or implied wisdom. I mean that I’ve already travelled where she is now travelling. Through this experience I’ve been so fortunate to have found a group of supportive parents who are somewhere along this path with me. Some have experienced far more and some are just now realizing that there is a problem. It brings me great hope to hear that a child and family have gone through the fire of addiction and now the child is sober. Thank God for people who share their experiences with those of us who are still standing in the flames.

But maybe the more powerful words come from the people who have chosen to step out of the flames despite their child still using.

My best friend from high school called me this week and told me that her son has now been sober for several years. This came after years of addiction, incarceration, estrangement. She is ahead of me on the trail and calling back encouragement.

One thing I’ve noticed with parents who have gone through this – they don’t casually offer advice. Because they’ve figured out that there is no fix. We must find our own path and work on the healing in ourselves. Sometimes sharing of ourselves is as simple as listening, sometimes it is sharing a laugh at an absurdity, sometimes it is a shoulder. Just by being here, you are a gift to everyone else.