4: Parenting (Sort Of)

11/10/19 Today we talk about parenting in recovery, with some conversation about relationships, gratitude and feelings.

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recovery sort of is a weekly podcast
where we discuss issues around living
with addiction from the perspective of
two people and long-term recovery this
podcast does not intend to represent or
endorse the views of any particular
group organization or fellowship the
views expressed are solely the opinions
of its contributors be advised there may
be strong language or topics of an adult
nature alright welcome to this week’s
episode of recovery sort of we got Jason
here and and Billy’s here and we’re
gonna do a little housekeeping first of
course this week I think we’re gonna do
something a little different and and not
so much focus on a topic talk more about
just recovery in our lives and in
specific and maybe how that applies in
general I do want to point out we are
now on Twitter which is at recovery sort
of so you can find us there if you’re
looking for us one of the things I’ve
noticed on Twitter so far is that it
just seems to be full of alcoholics and
many many less addicts are on there
claiming to be addicts at least and I
you know I thought the same thing that
might be felt by a lot of people that
that’s stigma still even though I kind
of thought that stigma was gone but it I
definitely noticed it it’s it’s
overwhelmingly populated with people who
claim to be sober that are tweeting and
I even you know pointed that out and I
got a couple of addicts that responded
like hey I tweet and I’m clean and all
that and that was great but I don’t know
do you think that’s because of stigma
still in 2019 I definitely do I mean I
think they’re still at this point you
know with the even in movies and things
you see people talk about you know being
sober and in you know pee and drinking
has because it’s still the same more
alcohol is a socially acceptable thing a
lot of people drink and I think it’s
easier for people to make the jump to oh
I can see drinking is fun I have fun
when I go to the beach and drink on the
weekends or have fun when I go camping
and have some beers and I can see how a
person with you know limited you know
control could go overboard
and that makes more sense than what you
stereotypically think of an addict which
is like a homeless person you know
laying in the streets shooting up with
you know needles and those kind of
things and so that’s a way bigger jump
for most yeah you know using needles and
shooting heroin with dirty water and
sucking dick for five bucks like I can
understand that
I also considered it maybe just
alcoholics uh you know for whatever
reason that gets over like Twitter more
than addicts do and I don’t know for
what that would be maybe addicts get
into other stuff like porn I have no
idea like maybe that’s just not the
forum for a clean addict on Twitter
maybe it lends itself more to being a
sober alcoholic yeah and I have to do
some exploration like I’ve never used
you know Twitter or Facebook or uh
Instagram as like a a push for recovery
um I will reshare some articles and
things that have heard on addiction or
things of listen to or you know programs
places are doing that I think are
interesting I’ll just reshare am I
usually don’t comment much but I don’t
comment much on social media kind of try
to avoid it the last little while um I
have one for the sake of having it but I
don’t use it very much right yeah I
don’t know I don’t know where that’s
gonna go I definitely I can’t stand
personally to like self-promote it just
feels so icky owe me but nobody else is
ever gonna promote this podcast so I
figured I better create a podcast
Twitter and that way I wouldn’t feel
quite as bad even though I have yet to
post a link to anything I’ve just been
you know conversing with
people in the recovery community because
they’re funny and interesting so what
one place we can start today I just
noticed him for me that this is a
regular theme in my life two weeks ago
I’m in school I have school classes at
night I have a field placement which is
an internship if you’re not familiar
with the terminology that I go to
regularly for 24 hours a week and I had
a job that I was working and you know of
course I have a family at home and and
hitting a meeting and full life but I
wasn’t dreading any of it right all of
it seemed really cool I was excited to
go to my field placement I was excited
to go to my work everything seemed good
right I was really grateful for it all I
wasn’t waking up miserable like I gotta
get out of bed and go to these things it
all felt really positive and and there’s
been some change over the last couple
weeks I mean you know if I wanted to
point out changes the the job is on a
hold status right now where it’s not
happening and so I haven’t had that
going on the weather has definitely
changed it’s gotten colder over the last
couple weeks the Sun you know hours
change with the with the time change so
there has been some slight changes but
I’ve definitely felt this week so here I
am two weeks later not much has changed
in my life and I’m feeling much less
happy with the things that I’m doing I’m
arguing with my wife Friday night I’m
like what’s why do i why am I so you
know fluent in mood change at all times
no matter how many steps I’ve worked no
matter how much spiritual connection I
try to work towards I feel like I just
can’t stay with one perspective because
if nothing’s changed in my life and my
feelings change that’s a perspective
change probably right but I what changes
it’s so frequently why do my moods and
feelings change so vastly when nothing
externally does and that drives me crazy
yeah I’ve noticed that in my life as
well and I
sorta don’t think as much about the why
a lot of that like I choked it up too
I’m just an addict and that’s just the
way I am and everything could be great
and I could still be miserable and
unhappy and find something to
about right you know and then other
times you know things are a struggle and
we’re fighting our way through but it’s
like all this optimism and hope and you
know what I mean like we’re gonna get
through this and it’s gonna be good and
you know and and same I don’t know that
a lot changes and I’ve always just
chalked that up to like that’s part of
being an addict you know my feelings are
all over the place um
what they call like tissue paper
feelings you know what I mean it’s like
one or two little things don’t go my way
and all of a sudden the sky is falling
and life sucks you know and and I think
like I had a similar like yesterday I
was doing some things around the house
we had some issues come up
we bought this older house and we needed
some work I’m changing a light fixture
and I realized the electrics
deteriorating behind the walls and of
course immediately that turns into this
emergency where I got to rip all the
electric out of the house and replace
all the wiring and so it’s a older house
and needs work and I’m doing that and
I’m trying to take care of the dog cause
my wife’s out of town so I’m trying to
take care of the dog and the kids in the
house and you know dishes are piling up
and things are you know not going like I
want him to go and immediately I’m like
I can’t do this anymore I’m done
with this I you know I’m I’m out like
I’m done I can’t do it right and you
know I sit down and I take a breath and
I sort of think about it for a minute
and kind of laugh like I laugh like
where the do I think I’m going and
what do I think I’m doing you know what
I mean like yeah I got I mean I could
walk away from all of it and really if I
wanted to and that’s fine but I don’t
think that would make me happy yeah so I
mean I I guess I looked at some of the
stuff that happened earlier on in my
recovery and before you know I did seek
some outside help through therapy and I
look at the stuff that happened before
that and I say okay I felt maybe weak
and helpless as a kid but then I got in
recovery and I started go
the gym and I started taking all these
supplements and I got to be a larger guy
right but I would still wake up and look
in the mirror and and one day you know
Monday I look in the mirror and I’m like
god damn look how big I am up jack
alright and then Tuesday I wake up and
I’m the same size and I’m like I feel
like such a small tiny human right and
so that I could understand and therapy
helped with some of the negative self
you know talk and and low self esteem
but I guess I just get frustrated now
because it’s like this deep the smallest
things when I get in this mode it’s like
half depression and just lie everything
seems gloomy and there’s like a cloud
over my head a little bit and the
smallest thing seemed like such a huge
inconvenience but the the hoodie I wear
I like to pull the sleeves up to the
elbow but then when I pull them back
down they’re too loose right and and my
fake batteries aren’t lasting long
enough and it just all seems like the
end of the world to me and I’m like I
hate that like everything was so great
two weeks ago well I can’t I just stay
there always yeah have you tried doing
you know the weird sort of positive
reinforcement like the gratitude lists
and stuff like that when you get into
those modes have you ever yeah yeah I
definitely and so one of the things I am
thankful for is that when I get in these
modes today it’s not I don’t feed the
doom and gloom right like I know it’s
there and I and I catch myself in it and
what I generally do for me I end up
talking to God a lot more like hey god I
don’t like this what’s up right can we
do something about it am I supposed to
sit here in it you know in my argument
with my wife which look I’m never proud
of half of the stuff I say in the
argument but I did catch myself and
she’ll probably never know the
I did catch myself pull him back a
couple times because it was a text
message argument and so I I found what I
wanted to say and I was like now be
softer be gentler and it still wasn’t
pretty right but there were moments of
like some clarity and sanity in it where
it was like you don’t want it say those
things at all you’re you know
I don’t even sure why I’m arguing half
the time I’m just arguing because now
we’re here and that’s what we’re doing
I do try to keep a gratitude list it’s
just very hard when these moments happen
to feel the gratitude even when I do the
thoughts you know the act of thinking of
hey it’s not that bad I really know it’s
not it hasn’t changed much from two
weeks ago like I know this
intellectually I know I’m happy to have
this family of mine I know I’m happy for
my kids it doesn’t seem to change the
feeling very much when I do that yeah I
don’t know that we get to change our
feelings you know we feel what we feel
like that’s kind of the way it’s been
explained to me like and trying to
change my feelings a lot of the times is
what led me to addiction or leads me to
other vices because hey I don’t like the
way I’m feeling but you know pornography
or spending money or you know some other
woman like those things will make me
feel better and they might in a moment
but it’s that instant gratification you
know seeking that kind of gratification
has always led me down a dark hole down
a dark path sometimes I think it is just
healthy to sit and say hey this is how I
feel and that’s okay every day isn’t
going to be great everyone’s not happy
all the time at every moment um in
addiction I think I thought that’s what
it was supposed to be like every day
supposed to be great and I’m supposed to
be happy all the time and and that’s
just not reality I don’t think that’s
reality for normal people hate to speak
for normal people out there because I’m
totally not one of them but yeah I don’t
think we just get to feel good all the
time you know everybody gets a turn
whether it’s by choice or just by
feeling you know right no I still
probably do from time to time fall into
the trap of like you know wanting to
walk outside my door and have a rainbow
and doing my house and you know
butterflies flying around my face and
which would actually probably really
ignore me it sounds fancy and it’s funny
because I sit in my field placement
doing I did this yesterday with an
individual in a therapy session and told
him hey you know it’s all right whatever
you feel like just feel it it’s okay
and then I can’t seem to always do that
myself even when I feel it not to switch
to far-off topics with my my daughter so
they’re there 14 now and that a lot of
their life is about their friends not so
much you know mom and dad or family or
any of that they’re not as overly
concerned with that they spend a lot of
time on their phones when whatever video
calling system they’re using at the
moment which drives me crazy
because I I don’t know I get that it’s a
generational divide like I barely want
to talk on the phone I definitely don’t
want you to look at me like I’m
not you know I get presentable to go out
of the house when I’m at the house I
look like a wreck probably or I just
don’t want to look at you I wouldn’t be
able to pick my nose if I want to like
the point is that I’m alone and not
bothered by that and they spend their
entire day walking around the house with
their phone in front of them looking at
people and being looked at and I just
think it’s so disturbing to me
and along with it the fact that it’s
always on speakerphone it’s like I feel
like I’m constantly if I walk in the
room to say something to them
I have no warning that I’m also talking
to you know people outside of my house
at the same time I can hear their
friends in my room because their
speakerphone so loud they leave their
friends on hold on video call and walk
away for half an hour and come back I’m
like what dumb stuff is this and
now every weekend they want to go
somewhere with a friend and I don’t I
don’t know if it’s me or them I am
always annoyed by it my initial reaction
every time they asked to go do anything
with a friend is no right like
though that sounds like an inconvenience
it’s probably terrible your friends are
probably awful for you and leading you
down a path of disaster I hate the idea
just stay here and be with your
family huh even though when they’re at
home they don’t actually hang out with
the family right they’re in their room
on the phone anyway so I don’t
know what that is about me but that is
always my initial take on it is that’s a
terrible idea
Wow yeah I’m almost the way I like I
mean I don’t say I like my kids to go
away but you know I think it’s good
my kids have a little different explain
don’t go to a public school so they
don’t have the normal you know
quote-unquote normal peer groups that
you have in public school and things
like that but they have friends and they
do things and go out and are involved in
different activities and I’ve always
encouraged them to seek outside people
I’ve encouraged them to bring their
friends to our house so we meet them
because I feel like I get a pretty good
sense of people um obviously I mean kids
are gonna hide stuff and they’re gonna
be sneaky and you’re not gonna know
everything but it’s um for me you know
growing up I think the secrecy from my
parents was a lot of what allowed me to
continue to use at a young age so with
my kids you know I really just push
honesty and openness hey where are you
going where you gonna be how do I get a
hold of you if I need to get a hold of
you you know those kind of things and
then I just let them go and and try to
trust that I’ve instilled in them the
right values to take out into the world
and then as far as the inconvenience to
me I’m just honest with them if I’m
around doing nothing I’ll give them a
ride somewhere I don’t mind at all but
if I’m busy I can’t and they’ll have to
if you want to go that’s fine you got to
figure out logistics and finances you
know like Oh am I supposed to give you
money well then what are you doing to
earn the money you know you need to get
somewhere you know I might be able to
take you I might not so I do put some of
that responsibility on them like you
know we try to work that out my kids are
actually probably more organized than my
wife and I when it comes to most things
like they have we have one of those
calendars on the side of the fridge with
all the days of the months on it and
like my daughter is really good at going
into like marking down the days that she
works each week and putting you know
what’s going on and we put activities
and stuff on there and probably 90% of
the stuff on there is what the kids
wrote on there themselves not what her
and I wrote on there we’ve we just
forget things
so I’ve real recognized like that’s
important to them so I try to do that
for them so that we can all coordinate
so that if they want to go somewhere or
be somewhere we can make that
and for them I think a lot of you know
the work that still needs to be done for
me in recovery is you know still on some
levels letting go that control thinking
I know better who their friends should
be than they do and I have it look now
that any of their friends are terrible
right I haven’t seen any awfulness
happen right in front of my eyes I have
had a lot of their friends over because
I agree I want to meet people before you
know I go sending my kids out in the
world with them and get an idea for
myself but I definitely think I question
their decision-making skills for sure
and some of that I think is warranted
because they’re 14 and 14 year olds by
nature are idiots right but some of it
might be excessive and I could use to
work on some of that letting go and
understand and like I don’t
ultimately have control no matter what I
do I could put them in a padded bubble
the rest of their life and they could
find a way to suffocate or something
like I can’t save them from themselves I
can’t save them from the world I’m not
that powerful
yeah and I’ve always sort of taken the
notion with my kids that you know the
more you tell them they can’t do or
they’re not allowed to do you know the
more it sort of pushes them to wanna do
it anyway so I’d rather it be open and
honest I mean so I guess I’m allowed to
say this I don’t know five people listen
to this so who really cares but you know
my daughter at sixteen we found out she
had a boyfriend and they were sexually
active and as a dad you’re never you
never want to hear that you don’t wanna
you know I don’t want to know that I
mean it’s terrible but we had an honest
conversation and we took him got her on
birth control and she’s takes birth
control and we try to support her in
that and I’m sure people be like oh you
support your daughter having sex well no
not really but I don’t support a raising
a kid at 16 17 years old either
and as much as I cannot want that to be
the reality I don’t think telling her to
stop is really gonna make her stop right
you know and what I you know I have
always kind of jokingly behalf seriously
said like if
ever found out they were really bad into
drugs like heroin or anything really bad
I’m really hooked on drugs said I would
chain him to a bed in their room and
lock the door damn in there for as long
as I could
I’ve gotta said that and I don’t know
that I wouldn’t but you know it’s
they’re gonna experience life you know
whether I like it or not and it’s not
always on my timetable and for me
personally like I just look at my
childhood I mean I was sexually active
at 14 and getting into trouble legal
trouble at 15 16 by the time I started
driving I’d already been driving I had
stolen cars and was driving before I
even had a license and so you know I
like my kids to be at least a little bit
open with us about what’s going on at
least then we can see you know hopefully
together see where they make bad choices
and then talk about those bad choices
and work through them because we’re all
gonna make bad choices you know we’re
growing up like that’s part of growing
up is like learning to live and
experience life and make some mistakes
and you know we don’t put it like my 17
year old my wife does and I try to get
her to back off a little bit it’s like
you know she’s getting to the age where
she’s gonna graduate soon and what she
want to do for college and what do we
want to do you know going forward in her
life and my wife’s kind of pushing her a
little bit to start making some
decisions about what do you want to do
for a career and what do you want to do
and I heard a guy say one time and it
stuck with me pretty well he said so as
a 35 or 40 year old person would you
ever go to a 17 year old and take career
advice like you would never go to them
and say you know hey what would be good
decisions for me to make for my career
so why do we in turn put that on them
and go oh at 17 you need to start making
good decisions about what you want to do
with the rest of your life right like no
that’s they’re not experienced they’re
capable enough to make those decisions
so why are we letting them go out and
sign up for these four-year colleges and
take out these student loans and do all
these things that are basically making
their career decisions for them for the
rest of their life like it’s crazy I
mean it’s
it’s just not practical so you know I
want to just support my kids in
experience in life exploring things they
like explore and what they want to do
figuring out who they are now why they
have the supports of their parents why
they have a roof over their head and a
place to live and you know people to
take care of them because I don’t plan
on taking care of them forever at a
certain age I’m gonna expect and they
know it they have some personal
responsibilities um but I can look at it
now is this is my opportunity to help
them learn to make those decisions right
I think a lot of my stuff is definitely
based in fear I don’t so fear doesn’t
control my life the way it used to it
doesn’t call all the shots but it’s you
know ever more present when I’m aware of
what’s going on with me and when I’m in
tune I see that it’s it’s affecting me
it I’m worried about their
decision-making I’m scared of you know
the activities that they find themselves
into which is basically nothing
right like their generation is just on
their phone all day all the time that
you let him be and so we just we had
like some time restrictions on their
phone and there was a lot of animosity
about that in the house that we had you
know they were cheating the system and
so we were punishing them and this that
and the other they had workarounds for
how to get around it and so we made a
new agreement where we took that off but
their tour had to be done every day you
know on time and this that and the other
and some other things and it’s like a
very low tolerance policy with that like
if your chores not done well then you
don’t have a phone right like it’s done
it’s not a question anymore it’s not a
you’re gonna do it tomorrow but yeah a
lot of a lot of my fear does stem from
that and more about you know what you
said I mean policy and laws and social
norms don’t generally seem to match up
with research right like research says
hey people aren’t really fully developed
in their brain to make good long-term
decisions about consequential thinking
until 25 but let’s do all this
before then right okay you can’t make
good consequential decision-making until
you’re 25 but go ahead and vote for the
president that’s gonna run the
country at 18 right go ahead and drink
at 21 and make good decisions there like
that doesn’t none of that makes sense go
ahead and figure out what your career
path is by 22 and what you even like to
do exactly exactly I mean you know I
went to school at 32 that’s when I
started college or 33 somewhere in that
range and like I still didn’t know the
I wanted to do so how does a 18
year old figure all that out when they
aren’t even fully developed in their
brain right and not only that but sign
you know student loans and take on all
this debt there’s you know probably more
than the first house is gonna cost you
know they’re doing at at 17 they
wouldn’t let him go out and buy a house
at that age but don’t let him acquire
that much student debt you know which
really has no intrinsic value meaning
ups intrinsic values rate where it has
no monetary value you know because they
could go to school and not do well or go
and take classes and get a degree and
then not even work in that field like
it’s your thing and and that’s so when I
met my wife she had a lot of student
loans because she had a degree and I
hadn’t even thought about going to
college at that point but she her
payment plan was a thirty-year payment
plan to repay it right and it was like
$400 a month at that point in time and
just looking at that I said well that’s
like fifty thousand dollars less of a
house we could ever afford over 30 years
that $400 a month that we could be
putting into a $250,000 house now we
have to buy a $200,000 house because we
can’t afford that $400 a month and I’m
like why the do we have 30-year
mortgages for a greater that’s crazy
yes that’s but yeah I mean it’s the old
saying like if parenting you know
there’s no book on perfect parenting and
there’s no sort of right way to do it I
mean I guess I’ve always looked at it as
I am raising a bunch of unique and
wonderful individuals you know I’ve been
entrusted to the care
of these individual beings and I want to
guide and nurture and try as best I can
to support them to be the best versions
of themselves that they can be my kids
they’ve all been raised in the same
house with the same parents I have three
completely different kids as far as
personality responsibility you know I
have one daughter who’s incredibly
responsible cleans her room all the time
helps with dishes hell takes care of her
laundry is very organized and then my
son is all over the place in his rooms a
mess and there’s constantly dishes and
there’s a constant fight to you know
take a shower and get ready for school
on time and you know that my older
daughter is kind of right in the middle
there yeah she’s neither of the two and
I believe our parenting has been the
same with all of them um but their
personalities their interests their you
know whatever is their unique
individuals and so you know I want to
just be as honest and open and nurturing
with them about life in the world and
the different things I mean we talked
about with our kids with drugs like I
imagine at some point they all tell me
they never have which is amazing to me
but we talk about drugs or drinking
alcohol or things like that and you know
we’ve always been pretty open they know
my wife and I are in recovery they’ve
heard us talk about recovery and
addiction and you know they know a lot
about it they’ve been a lot around a lot
of things they’ve asked us lots of
questions about it at different times
and we’ve always tried to just be honest
with them about like hey you may try
this at some point in your life it’s not
you know and of course most of the time
now thank God they’re like no way I’m
never doing that which okay great I got
no problem with that either
but the truth is for most adults you
know they can grow up and drink alcohol
and be fine and they don’t turn into
raging alcoholics and you know addicts
so we just try to approach it that way
like look you know you may get into
situations where you want to you’re
gonna do these things or you’re gonna
try them and that’s not bad I’m not here
to play some moral judgements on people
who drink or smoke pot or whatever but
you need
be aware of what the warning signs are
and when you feel like you’re going down
a bad path and what these what the
consequences start to look like when
you’re having a problem you know and
address it early on don’t let it get to
some extreme place um me growing up
using I used around a whole bunch of
other people that were addicts so I
didn’t realize how bad the behavior was
or how extreme what I was doing was
because my peer group at the time was
all using drinking and the same way you
know I mean when it got to the point
that we were stealing and robbing and
that was you know you knew that was
a problem but you know in my social
group that was acceptable right yeah you
make a lot of good points there one of
the most helpful things in my parenting
was definitely I started off with twins
and I had this belief that as a parent I
was going to you know guide and nurture
them right into the right way of doing
things and so early on watching these
twins develop knowing that like whether
my parenting style changed for a younger
sibling of theirs or not they got the
same exact thing right from day
one they got the same parenting and they
are two completely different
people and so that really allowed me to
like step back and take a look at my
parenting and say I don’t need to be
this overly insane
you know strict parent because it’s
obviously not working that way that I
thought it would I’m not producing these
little people that are directly in tune
with what I believe in and how to act
and you know all those things about like
parents feeling shameful when their kids
act up in public or when their kids
behave bad as if it’s a reflection on
them like raising twins eliminated all
of that for me because I’m like I have
so little to do with it I gave these two
the same thing and they had completely
different experiences and outcomes from
it so obviously what I’m doing is only
minimally affecting their lives you know
as children of mine and it allowed me to
step back and say you know what maybe I
just need to take a softer path of
parenting for one and
and reevaluate this whole idea because
kids come out they like you said they’re
their own unique little pieces of nature
and they’re they haven’t very little to
do with what I’m doing I’m not saying
they don’t pick up on some stuff I’m not
saying I can’t traumatize them or give
them life long complexes because I
surely can but I don’t have as much
input into their final product as I
originally thought I would now that I’ve
had that experience but yeah I do I try
to guide them and not be the the
dictator and not be that and I I
definitely don’t do it perfect by any
means I have my better times and worst
times two weeks ago I was probably a
better parent and I was you know in this
great happy spot of gratitude that then
I would be today but I I definitely
struggle with just concern over their
outcome concern that I’m not doing it
well enough of course
concern that I don’t know how to do it
well concern that I had these gut
instinctual reactions to say no to
things that I don’t have any good reason
to say no to and I’m like where does
that come from why do I just want
to keep them from the world and and you
know hide them away or something I don’t
know I try to be pretty open with them
especially the older kids of mine know
my history to some extent I haven’t
hidden things from them I don’t try to
pretend I’m perfect I try to have
conversations that you know inspire them
to come to me when they really have
problems and and not overreact when they
do some things so that they feel like
they can come back but parenting is
definitely probably the biggest
challenge I faced in recovery trying to
do it well and you know all the
self-centeredness of mine and thinking I
know the right answers and the ego and
and you know kids are gonna lie not out
of a disrespect to me but just out of
avoiding trouble and understanding that
and not taking that personally and then
all coming back to you know self-will
versus God’s will at some point of like
my living in tune with spiritual
principles here or am I just trying to
enforce what I want to happen in my life
what makes my life easier stand feel
best yeah why I heard recently I was
listening to audio book and they were
talking about I don’t remember this
scientist name but they did all these
studies on families and what you know
made happy families versus unhappy
families or healthy families versus
unhealthy families and sort of his
summation if you will of that process
was you know happy families there isn’t
one thing that all families that are
happy do that makes them happy and
healthy there’s a lot of things that you
got to try to not get wrong so there’s
you know you can’t just do that which is
why it’s so hard to have a happy healthy
family you know there’s no formula right
there’s no I can just do this one thing
and everything will be great it’s not–
you got to get like these ten different
things they gotta be fed they got to be
closed they’re you know needs need to be
but then there’s emotional needs and
physical needs and then those change
within kids you know the emotional needs
of my children are all different you
know my son is a very emotional kid very
reactive to his feelings you know real
high highs real low lows you know over
reacts to movies you know he’ll cry at
movies and stuff like that and my
daughters don’t seem to be that way so
instead of trying to parent that out of
him I’ve just grown to try to nurture
that like that’s just a part of who he
so I have to take a little bit of
different approach sometimes to him that
I would take with my daughters
um that’s been hard you know cuz like
say you feel like you want to do if I
just do these same things it’s gonna
work well not necessarily you know what
works for one doesn’t work for the other
yeah Dee so my wife tends to be sort of
what I’ll call pessimistic about the
world and I am more optimistic about the
world I am more encouraging of them to
like man there is a lot of
using wonderful beautiful people
beautiful places beautiful things to do
in the world there’s so many things that
go see and do and explore and experience
you know this country is beautiful if
you ever have a chance to travel across
countries amazing place beautiful
there’s mountains and valleys and
canyons and you know forests and desert
lands and you know it’s just
oh she’s and features just we’ve had the
great experience of seeing a lot of
those things and like I’ve tried to
instill in my kids like hey as you get
older you don’t have to stay here in
Maryland you can go wherever you want in
this world you’re not limited to this
little geographic region you know you
should go wherever makes you happy
wherever you feel at peace and that you
love and now for some different weird
reasons my wife and I are kind of locked
here into Maryland but that’s by choice
not necessarily you know but we have
some obligations to stay here but we
have you know try to teach that like at
least I have tried to teach them to
explore the world and see what’s out
there and my wife is very much the
opposite she’s very fearful she’s sort
of it’s dangerous you know you gotta
really be careful you got a you know
watch you talk to and hear around and
and I just I don’t live that way so I’m
like I see the crazy people walking down
the streets I live in a kind of
not-so-great neighborhood and there’s
prostitutes and drug addicts all around
and I see him and I just hey how’s it
going today and I talk to them and wave
and you know I don’t turn my back and
run it hasn’t caused me any harm yet I
can’t say that it won’t but I don’t know
that living in fear reduces your risk of
harm anymore absolutely and I will from
side to side with that a lot of times I
definitely can live in the the fear side
of it and the aspect of it and and the
pessimistic aspect my me my father was
probably you know maybe one of the
greatest pessimist in history I’m not
sure seemed like it but just looking at
the state
the world and like the things so I love
what I see my kids that are overly
emotional and I try to nurture those
types of things too right so for me as a
kid I felt overly emotional and I feel
like I was always judged for it and and
tried to you know correct it because it
was something wrong with me and I kind
of I believe part of that is what led me
maybe not led me astray but it
definitely contributed to my feelings of
not feeling right not feeling a part of
the world and I feel like getting in
touch with that later on in life that
overly emotional side of me has kind of
led me into the the therapeutic
community of wanting to work in that
environment you know the the love and
care for people that I do feel so I wish
that would have been nurtured in me but
at the same time when I see things in my
kids like can put I want to combat the
world right like the world has this
message the u.s. has this message that
it sends society gives them hey bye
stuff hey love beautiful people hey all
these terrible messages that I
hate right and I try to combat that I
don’t want to nurture that part right
and but that’s what I see that
everybody’s caught up in my kids
included it’s like oh man I gotta watch
these streamers they’re important
you know ninja matters and I’m like he’s
a dude that lives next door to
somebody like he’s no different than
your next-door neighbor right these
celebrities Kylie Jenner whoever the
hell they’re not important they’re just
people right not that they’re not
important but they’re no more important
than the guy who lives next door across
the street right and and I that’s the
message I try to send and so I get
pessimistic about if these kids are
being raised by somebody who gives a
and they’re turning out still
buying into the messages of society and
all these things that I consider not
that great or wonderful consumerism and
beauty and all these concepts right you
you’re useless after the age of 22
because you’re just getting old now and
all that if they’re being raised by a
conscientious person
Aires and still turning out that way
then the world’s because a lot of
people aren’t even in tune with that
stuff even exist in there just Amazon
shopping every day and loving it and not
even aware that it might not be the
greatest habit and their kids are all
gonna obviously love that stuff and so
it we’re all we’re just we’re gonna
elect you know Donald Trump for the next
80 years as president we’ll change the
rules and we’re all just gonna go to
hell like I don’t know I got I so it’s
hard to be optimistic about that well
here’s the optimistic take on it oh yeah
so how many times have you been owned
ties back into some recovery stuff so
how many times have you been in meetings
and you hear somebody say some that
sounds great some guy with a bunch of
years clean and he says some saying and
you think oh that sounds wonderful and
you walk out of the room and you totally
forget about it you just you don’t even
think about it and then years later as
you’re going through life and some
situation comes up that thing pops in
your head and you go oh that’s what that
means that’s what they’re talking about
when they say that you know and that’s
because those values and lessons were
given to you you just weren’t ready for
them yet so as parents I believe there’s
a lot of that going on I’m putting the
information there I’m giving examples
I’m trying to put these things in their
head you know what I mean
and when the time comes hopefully
that’ll be what they recall or as they
have bad experiences they’ll go oh yeah
you know I was warned about this and I
didn’t listen but you know I have
information there to combat that so
hopefully as parents we just keep trying
to instill the good values and at the
end of the day those good values that
will win out has been plans yeah and and
you know as far as recovery like we’ve
taken a lot of my wife taught me this
early on like a lot of those principles
that we learned through actually more
the traditions than the steps but a lot
of those so in recovery you hear a lot
of times you know the steps are so I
don’t kill myself and the traditions or
so I don’t kill other people you know
that kind of thing and and we’ve taken
a step further of a lot of those are the
principles that I want to raise my
family in you know tweak them a little
bit to try to make them fit but the
principles are the same you know that
tradition would be our common welfare
should come first
you know recovery depends on unity well
in our family our family happiness comes
first and that depends on family unity
how do we work as a family together how
do we talk to each other see what each
other’s needs and goals and desires are
and then how do we make that happen for
each person because we all you know five
of us have different goals different
desires different things we want to do
different places we want to go and so as
a parent it’s easy to say well I know
best I know what you need and I know
what will make you happy and I know what
you want to do and I think I’m really
smart I know I’m smarter than them so I
should just make all the decisions and
then everything will be great but
sometimes allowing them to be involved
in the decision-making and doing what
they want to do versus what I want to do
you know is there’s more power in that
than there is in being right and I
forget that sometimes I get it wrong a
lot you know and and thinking yesterday
with so dealing with all that electric
stuff at the house you know I was really
critically aware of how far I’ve come in
recovery with stuff like that so as a
obsessive compulsive person at times in
my history of working on house projects
are getting you know whether it was mow
the grass or take care of this or that
outside or fix a major thing the water
heaters broke whatever it is whatever
project I’m working on in the past
especially when my kids were a lot
younger I was really locked and focused
into getting that thing done whatever it
was that I needed to do say it’s the
water heater well we all need hot water
it’s for the good of the family it’s the
most important thing and I get locked in
and tunnel vision and this is what I’m
doing and so then when the kids you know
want food or they’re fighting with each
other and whatever all those little
distractions of addressing their wants
and needs I would flip out you know what
I mean and get angry and start yelling
and freaking out because I can’t do what
I want to do or need to do
in that moment and some of that’s you
know my own weird stuff I’m more
goal-oriented so if I can focus on a
task completed to completion see the
finished project you know I get personal
satisfaction out of that
handling my kids emotional needs or
wants or demands I like that’s just
never-ending there you know there’s no
winning in that it’s just you handle
this and then the next thing comes up
and the next thing never ending and the
payoff doesn’t show till later yeah they
really feel ungrateful a lot of it um so
you know in the past that’s really
caused me some personal angst that I
didn’t recognize until the end of the
day you know at the end of the day well
the water heaters in but now I feel like
because I yelled at my kids five
times and I made them feel bad about
being hungry you know or being an
argument with each other when they’re
seven and five you know like just be in
normal life and so yesterday I’m working
on all this electrical stuff and I kept
having to take breaks to deal with you
know making sure the dog gets outside
and and making sure the kids have lunch
and you know my son wanted to go to this
thing so I had to get him some money and
you know my daughter was going to
babysit so I had to make sure you know I
was home in time for this and and just
trying to be present in their lives and
be available to them as the priority
over the project of the electric as the
priority like that’s an improvement that
you know through recovery I’ve learned
to look at oh what I do this it makes me
feel bad I feel guilty or bad you know
so maybe we need to change that behavior
because that guilt shame and
embarrassment those things are usually
an indicator to me that I’m not doing
something right yeah and and you know
you remind me of one of the things as
you say that the guilt over time helps
you to remember to refocus and reframe
and figure out your issues reminding me
of some of the hope of recovery that
like I kind of believe the the good
analogy of the road getting more narrow
the longer I stay clean and the further
into recovery I go meaning you know when
I got here it was like hey I’m not
shooting heroin and cocaine today
awesome it doesn’t matter
else I do right I can go steal I can you
know cheat on my girlfriend with five
other women and lie to all of them about
want to be with them and none of that
matters it’s all good I’m not high today
right and then over time some of those
behaviors start becoming less acceptable
to me and so to realize that and
remember that often when I’m facing
these life crisis in recovery nowadays
it’s very very different from that first
day of recovery right it’s things like
man I might have had an attitude when I
talked to my daughter earlier and I
don’t feel so great about it right
pretty minor in the grand scheme of
things definitely if that would have
been my problem when I had a year clean
I’d have been like top I’m great right
but the road has gotten narrower and and
now the smaller things do affect me and
they affect me sooner and there’s much
more positive going on so that these
minor inconveniences or adjustments that
need to be made are taken care of
much sooner when they start than they
were in the past it’s not a three-month
venture down a line of self-centeredness
it’s like oh man I feel crappy the last
few days a little bit maybe I should
readjust right and that is a lot of hope
like my life probably is it’s never my
the way I feel about how I’m doing isn’t
really indicative of how I’m doing right
how I’m doing and how I’m feeling or two
completely separate ideas and I need to
often look at how I’m doing when I’m not
feeling so great maybe I’m not doing all
that great either and I need to adjust
but maybe it’s just that I’m just not
feeling that great and I’m still doing
pretty well and that’s a hopeful way to
think too so this is a weird thing we’ve
done and it’s it’s again another one of
those sort of things you hear in
recovery but we have actually and it’s
hard to say whether you’ll get a
straight answer or not but we have
actually sat down with our kids at times
and said how do you think we’re doing as
parents are there things that you think
we could do better or the things that we
could do more of are the things that you
know we do really well and listen to
what they have to say without judgment
now the judgment parts are
your feelings but we’ve done that with
our kids at different times and it’s
awkward you know it’s it’s uncomfortable
but other skills that I’ve learned in
recovery wise that have helped me in
parenting is just listening sometimes
you know just sitting down letting my
kids talk letting them get out whatever
frustrations or whatever they have to
say a lot of times with me I counter
that with their arguments with logic
which is difficult but allowing them to
have a feeling that you know I’m here to
listen I don’t always agree and I’ll
tell them that while I don’t agree with
that or I don’t see it that way or
that’s not how we do things here like
those things come out sometimes but
there are times where I’m like well I
see your point I understand what you’re
saying and I’m sorry you know whatever
um the other thing I heard and it was
the same audio book where the guy was
talking about the family studies and
things like that they said as parents we
need to give ourselves a break like we
are gonna make mistakes we are gonna do
you know whatever bad things as parents
at times a lot of times the best thing
we can do is go to our kids and just
apologize just not give a bunch of
excuses on why we made a mistake but
just go to them and say hey look I did
this I’m really sorry
that’s not the kind of parent I want to
be and leaving ago and just admitting
like hey I make mistakes I’m not perfect
it’s okay you know I’m trying to own up
to it you know yesterday my son and I
were in an argument and you know I
yelled at him maybe a little more than
he needed to it was about cleaning his
room of course we’ve been asking him
nicely to clean his room clean his room
clean his room and he hasn’t done it so
yesterday was the all right well now
we’re turning off the internet which
turned into a big fight and then we’re
art and then I’m yelling at him and he
didn’t feel like oh so now it’s just
okay to yell at me whenever you’re mad
at me and all this stuff and of course
my logic at the time was look I’ve tried
to be nice
I’ve tried to ask you nicely I’ve given
you a whole weekend they’ll give you all
last weekend to do it at your own pace
at your own time I kept making
suggestions I kept trying to be nice
that hasn’t worked
me so now I’m gonna try this and we’ll
say if yelling and consequences gets it
done and unfortunately guess what it got
it done and so I just told them flat out
I said I’m gonna do what I need to do to
get this done there at the time and
they’re not major but they are like
there’s health issues there he’s got
dirty dishes and stuff in his room I
don’t want bugs in the house I don’t
want Anson roars you know bugs
in the house and mold growing on dishes
in his bedroom like that’s unhealthy and
we’re not gonna have it in the house and
you know learning when to kind of crack
down a little bit is that tough line but
I did so I will say I was a little loud
at times but I really am careful now not
to insult or degrade them which are
things I’ve done in the past you know
things like you know what he’s stupid or
quit being an idiot you know saying
those kind of things cuz that’s the way
I was raised I was talked down to a lot
probably has to do with my self-esteem
issues but um so that’s what comes out
naturally a lot of times um but you
learn you know hey well how did that
make you feel I was you know how was
that so yeah there are times that I’ll
yell or be a little more assertive as a
parent that I can do that in a way
that’s not degrading or belittling to
him you know for them I don’t yell at my
daughters too much they’re pretty good
they we’ve gotten beyond that they
realized arguing and yelling doesn’t
really accomplish much we’re we got
goals to achieve let’s see how we need
to get there we can work together and do
it or we can work against each other but
at the end of the day you know there is
a sort of underlying like it’s my house
I’m in charge these are kind of the
rules I’ll listen to you if you want to
talk about some of them some of them are
negotiable at different times but in
general we have a standard a quality of
life that we want to maintain in our
household and you have an obligation and
responsibility to uphold that with clean
dishes and cleaning up and picking up
after yourselves and vacuum in your room
and vacuuming after the dog and that
kind of stuff yeah I’m with you on on
not stigmatizing not labeling my kids I
try to do that to best my ability and
I’m sure I fall short but instead of
like calling them a liar I say they told
a lie and things along that nature and I
know it seems like a small distinction
but I think it’s important right you’re
not your nature is not to be a liar
you’ve said something that was untrue
because you were trying to avoid being
in trouble right and I want to
understand that and and try to remember
to frame it that way when I’m talking to
them so that I don’t paint this portrait
of them being a terrible person they’re
a person who made a decision that maybe
I don’t agree with and I think saying
that helps them and I think saying it
like that also helps me to remember that
it’s funny brought up the the time for
the kids to have a voice and I found
that to be very important and I did that
for a while we would sit around and we
had like a judgment-free you know vent
space basically where you could say
whatever you felt like you needed to say
to people including adults and there
would supposedly be no judgement about
it and we could air it out and maybe
talk about it maybe just air it out and
it it went okay I think we did it a few
times at one point and the kids were a
little iffy about what they could really
say you know what I mean they were still
like you really can I really call you a
jerk or whatever I do remember and I’m
sure my wife who was probably my only
listener will remember this differently
she seemed to struggle keeping the
judgment-free part out a little bit it
seemed like when the kids would
criticize her she took it personal which
is very natural right I’m not trying to
say it wasn’t it was easy to sit there
and hear criticisms I did feel like at
the time we did it they were a little
younger and maybe there wasn’t a whole
lot of valuable input to take from it
for us as parents it was like oh you
don’t let us play on the Xbox enough or
something you know that really seemed
small and ridiculous at the time but I
do I do think that might be a valuable
thing to try to put back into place
which would lead me into my next issue
which was what my argument was about the
other night is just feeling like I don’t
have enough time with my family
um you know I was working and in a field
placement and now even with the job on
hold there’s still a limited amount of
time to be home there’s definitely a
limited amount of time to be home by the
time my wife gets home from her job
where we’re all there and there’s things
that need to be accomplished and people
have their own agenda of what they
really want to do but along with that we
we sign them up for activities and
sports and I bring this up because I
know you are somewhat on the other side
of the opinion of this and so that might
be useful for me to hear that from
another place I think it’s too much
right I miss the concept of the 1950’s
when there was not really organized kids
sports like you went out into your front
street and there was 18 kids out there
and you all walked out in the park and
played a game of baseball together and
that was great I liked I think I liked
the concept of team sports and organized
sports it’s it’s nice you know it gives
them some team-building and everything
but so I have five kids right for them
our of sport playing age and so when you
put four kids into a sport that’s a lot
of your week right practices games you
got to be it fields like four sometimes
five to eight hours on a Saturday it’s
overwhelming for me
to think that that much of my life that
I’m trying to spend what my family is
spent sitting at a field and not that I
don’t enjoy watching some of the games
but it’s still a very long time to be
there and then when you start talking
about some of these four kids having two
sports and a season and then you talk
about doing four sports seasons and some
are doing two and now my wife Steven
mentioned and she don’t want to hold one
kid back and they want to do three
sports in a season and I’m like what the
right when is enough enough when is
this too goddamn much and so we have
arguments about that and look I’m scare
I’m wrong right I’m scared that taking
them out of sports is the wrong thing so
I’m never forceful about like we
definitely got to stop doing sports but
I am concerned that like I would like to
have less of that less rushing around to
places less sitting at fields and and
sports arenas and more time to you know
sit and have a conversation of a
judgment-free family zone and she
completely disagrees you think it’s very
healthy to always be in sports and I
sent her some like research that talks
about kids being overly into activities
that might be adverse to their health
she’s like oh that’s when you’re talking
about a kid being in you know 16
different activities and all that and
I’m like yeah that’s one kid right we
have five but but to me my answer is
this it’s obviously an issue if it’s a
issue to me right there we don’t
need research to prove this like if it’s
adversely affecting my health because
it’s too much there’s a issue
whether you believe it’s good or bad for
them like it’s an issue for our family
because it’s too much for me and I don’t
know when it is too much too much right
when is there not enough time to just be
when are we human doings and not human
beings anymore and I struggle with that
and I know you are a definitely fan of
having your kids in some sports and so I
definitely I want to hear your take on
it because it’s easy to just discount my
wife I won’t discount you quite as
simply I think okay yeah so I’ve thought
a lot about that my general overall
theory on kids with my children is they
didn’t ask to be here they didn’t ask
for me as parents you know I wanted them
or at least made the choices to bring
them into this world so I owe them they
don’t owe me anything
oh that’s just a general I don’t know if
it’s right or wrong that’s just always
been my take on it so I feel an
obligation to give them the best
possible life and opportunity and those
things as I can my wife and
I’ve been round about that stuff too I
personally am a big fan of sports
specifically for the physical activity
the team-building there’s a lot of value
in it I don’t force them to do it I
allow them to pick and choose what they
want to do but again it’s experiences of
life we’ve done every thing I think you
can do with kids gymnastics and
horseback riding and baseball and soccer
and you know just every activity I
always bring them up hey you can do this
hey you can do that check out flag
football you know whatever and I’m
always bringing up stuff for them to try
and check out because I always sort of
in the back of my mind I always hope
they’re gonna do that one thing that
they’re gonna love they’re gonna find
out what it is who knows archery
whatever they’re gonna find it they’re
gonna be like man this brings me immense
joy and immense happiness and I love it
and I want to support them in that you
know I want to be there for them in that
my wife and I are very different I’m the
one that’s at oh I met every thing they
ever do I don’t miss activities
practices events whatever I’ve been to
almost all of them I’ve missed very few
in my life and to me it’s more letting
them know that I support them in the
things that they want to do and what
they’re interested in and that I’m on
Team whatever kid it is even if it’s
stuff I don’t want to do I will say now
that they’re getting a little older and
it’s a big kind of whatever my
suggestion to you is sit down and talk
to them ask them if they could like do
you care is it important to you that I’m
at every game because with my schedule
and stuff it’s pretty hard and if it’s
really important to you I will
definitely make an effort to be there
but you might find out they’ll go no I
don’t really care you don’t have to come
more having just as much fun with you
there as if you’re not there so in fact
we don’t even like you be in there you
know who knows what they’re gonna say if
you ask them that and that may give you
personally some freedom to make choices
of what you want to do with your time I
did something along those
lines not really that I’ve asked him so
much my my one daughter of the twins my
one daughter always tells me she doesn’t
care if I’m there or not and I almost
feel like she goes so out of her way to
say it it really feels like a defense
mechanism and so I really have a hard
time trusting the information but even
if I did trust it my other daughters
like now man I really like when you’re
there so it wouldn’t matter but this
season in particular I was I had
something to do Saturday mornings I
could not see either of my son’s soccer
games for the entire season I did take
one Saturday off to make sure that I got
to see a piece of each game right I saw
the first half of one game one boys game
and the second half of the others but
the the ten-year-old told me many times
man why can’t you come to my game this
morning and it’s like I just can’t and I
didn’t feel guilty about it I couldn’t
write I had something else going on um
but I I do I just get so overwhelmed by
and and I heard what you said that made
me I liked what you said the only thing
that made popped a question in my head
was you said you know you brought that
man you want to do what’s best for them
they don’t owe you and I believe that to
some extent but then you said you want
to do what’s best for them and that’s
where I always have my questions like
what is best for my kids right I can
easily justify whatever I want to say is
best for them is it best that I keep
them busy at all hours of their life
like part of me says yes right that
keeps them busy and away from boredom
and drug use right which is something I
would love to do keeps them away from
that I think that’s important I think
that could be useful the other part of
me says man am i setting them up for a
really miserable life later
because they think this is what life is
and then there I finally send them out
to the world to college or something
where there’s not sporting events and
practices and all the time and and
then they find drugs and alcohol because
you know the shock to their system of
what do I do now I’m sitting you’re
doing nothing I used to always do stuff
all the time I don’t know I I think
there’s value in sit
still I think there’s value in spending
time together and I don’t feel like as a
family we do enough of that I mean we
generally eat dinners together right we
do some things that are out of practice
and parts of you know the US but I don’t
know like I feel like we’ve run around a
lot it’s not a lot of going here and
there and I yeah I’ve heard some of that
too um my nature is to want to go and do
stuff all the time so it doesn’t bother
me at all I don’t mind um but that’s
just who I like if I’m sitting around on
the couch watching television I feel
like I’m just wasting time like I got a
limited amount of time on this planet I
want to try to use it doing you
know that’s just my take on stuff and
I’m always high-energy
a couple of things one you know when I
think about my kids I think I only get
this amount of quality time with them
for a very limited amount of time I mean
18 years sounds like a long time but
I’ve been in recovery longer than that
and that feels like the blink of an eye
you know it’s like wow man it goes so
quick and not that I’m necessarily gonna
be out of their life but like with my 17
year old now she drives so she’s taking
herself everywhere and going to work and
drives to school and she doesn’t really
need me to do a lot for her you know
she’s becoming pretty independent um and
there’s ways that I’m proud of that and
then there’s other ways where I’m kind
of like whoa she’s doing her own feel
like she’s almost an adult like you know
she really doesn’t need me anymore you
know she’s getting and there’s a little
bit of sadness in that like I always be
her dad I think she’ll always count on
us to be around and help her with things
at least I hope so um so yeah we only
get a limited immuno and I’ve always
looked at it and I’ve explained this in
meetings and stuff to people like I
don’t so I have pulled back the amount
of service commitments in the amount of
activities that of
done in the fellowship and and all those
amount of meetings that I went to
because I felt an obligation to my kids
and not that I let you know them my
family Trump my recovery but it also
like there needs to be some balance
there where I need to be available to my
kids and my family and sometimes that
means giving up stuff that I want to do
like yeah it’s great to go to three
meetings a week and go out to dinner
after the meeting and go hang out with
some friends and do all those things but
when I had really young kids I gave up a
lot of that I’ll say purposefully like
knowing like hey this isn’t forever in a
couple more years my kids are gonna be
older and now that’s we’re getting to
that side of it now like my kids are
older so I can go out to more meetings
and I can go to lots of recovery events
and I can go out with my friends and do
more things and I don’t feel like that
sacker for like I don’t regret that
sacrifice like I still feel like it was
a good sacrifice to make um the last
thing I’ll say about you know that part
of my kids and this is probably the the
more on popular version thing that I’m
gonna say is that I often have joked
about like my kids are 17 14 and 11 I
don’t know about you I don’t have much
in common with a 14 year old girl there
isn’t a lot of conversation topics that
we’re gonna get into you know what I
mean that are gonna interest me or
probably interest her I babble on my
nonsense about history and weird stuff
last night I’m talking to her about
Oppenheimer and his you know his quotes
of the Manhattan Project and she humors
me for a couple minutes but she’s not
really engaged in the conversation but
to me that’s a fascinating conversation
and she’s not interested in that in the
least and she’s on tumblr with her
friends or whatever you know Chad and
probably like my dad is such a dork oh
but the truth is I don’t have much in
common with kids you know I’m not a kid
I don’t relate to the world in that way
anymore so I don’t feel an overwhelming
obligation to spend all this time with
them myself what I find more exciting
and I think they do too is we find stuff
that we like to do together you know we
like to do activities together we do you
know we’ll go out hiking we’ll go
they’re all excited about going skiing
this winter so we’ll plan some ski trips
and we’ll go out and we’ll go skiing
together and it might not necessarily be
this beaver cleaver quality time thing
that they had in the 50s or 60s or
whatever but we go out we have fun we go
to dinner after birds we talk about our
day we talk about how much fun it was we
share life experiences together and for
me that’s important and I think for them
that’s important so we find these areas
where we all enjoy doing the same things
and we go out and live and enjoy life
together well and I think you’ve brought
up some of my main issues with what’s
going on or with the sports and
activities wouldn’t you said the word
balance right that’s what I feel like is
completely missing and you know I wasn’t
the one because I had so much else going
on I was not the one taking them to
these practices during the week I wasn’t
at the games on Saturday mornings I was
getting out of my my field placement
Saturday’s after being there for six
hours and going and sitting at a
softball field for five and a half hours
which was just more than I really wanted
to do for sure but what I look at and
I’ve said this to my wife is that like
oK we’ve got two weeks worth of laundry
and baskets that we haven’t put away yet
I’ve been wanting to like vacuum the
floor for a month now the bathroom
hasn’t been cleaned for a couple weeks
we’re not taking care of the we
need to take care of around the house
because her argument is I don’t like
sitting at home right I don’t like being
at home I like doing these things with
the kids I like going out of the house
and doing things and I’m like that’s
but we’re not taking care of our
responsibilities because we’re never
here don’t have time to do it right so
if we’re running so much around that we
can’t actually take care of the
household life and keep up with that and
chores and things that we want to do I
want to vacuum the floor I don’t
like a messy floor right if we can’t
even do that like maybe there’s an issue
with this you tied into it with talking
about doing activities with your kids I
also like that I love taking a hike
is a great hiking weather right now I
like even going to a mall and just kind
of window shopping once in a while and
doing other random activities with my
family right and I feel like there’s
never time to do that because we’re
always at a goddamn commitment we’re
always at a softball game soccer game
practice some way shape or form and when
we’re there I’m not spending time with
them I’m sitting there watching them
which is fine like I do enjoy a lot of
that I enjoyed their softball games
they’re in an age now where it’s kind of
competitive and it’s enjoy it’s like
watching a game right but I don’t want
to feel like there’s never a time to do
these other things as an actual family a
lot of times we’re like well we’re gonna
be at the field for five hours watching
softball we’ll leave the other two kids
home well okay so now I don’t even have
my whole family with me right and I get
it that’s boring for a five and a
ten-year-old boy to sit at a field for
five and a half hours it’s awful I
wouldn’t want to put them through that
but when do we have the time to clean
our house to take stock of our groceries
and get rid of the stuff that’s expired
and go on hikes and you know find I
every once in a great while I have a
free weekend and I’m like oh I’ll go and
see what kind of events are in the area
what’s coming up is there a cool fare we
can go to or something I don’t even feel
like I get to look for that most of the
time because I’m so busy figuring out
how am I gonna get to this practice or
game or whether like I want more of the
other stuff so and you reminded me of
this and I’m like yeah that is true I
have for different reasons we have put
limits on things and actually I was
thinking yeah we actually have um
sometimes they’ve been monetary limits
because a lot of these extracurricular
activities cost a lot of money they’re
expensive and so we’ve said hey you have
to make a choice sometimes it’s been
time-wise commitments but yeah we have
put limits on you can’t do this this and
this you got to pick you know one at a
time for because we have a family
because we have you know there’s five of
us and we all have stuff we want to do
and so we got to balance that out um so
we have put limits on things
it was something else I was gonna talk
about there and I forget about what it
was that’s okay I feel like we had a
limit of one sport per kid per season
which is still a little overwhelming
with with you know four of them playing
right now but we don’t even stick to it
because now they’re sports in school and
it’s like while you could be on the
school team and this and and now like my
one daughter coming up for the next
season and I I think I said no and we’re
not doing it I hope but apparently there
was like school basketball rec
basketball and some other girl and her
softball team wanted her to play on the
club basketball and I’m like really
three I thought we set this one per kid
limit and here we are and I just I just
don’t know and maybe talking about some
of that with them saying hey look you
know you want to commit to all three of
these if you are gonna make that
commitment I’m gonna commit to this one
I’ll get you to this one I’ll get you
back I’ll worry about that you know
these are your I mean again it’s just
teaching them lessons like you want to
commit to all these things okay how are
you getting to practices how are you
getting home do you have supports pick
can people help you somebody gonna be
able to give you a ride is this girl
gonna be able to pick you up every week
you know and then of course things will
happen that will fall through and you’ll
end up picking up in areas where you
need but it’s just allowing them to make
some choices for themselves like say my
seventeen year olds working all the time
now we got her a car she works six days
last week you know she’s in school I’m
work six days I’m like are you sure
that’s healthy like you need to learn to
balance like maybe you need to talk to
your work and tell them that’s a lot you
know like you can’t do that yeah so
having some of those giving them the
freedom to like oh you want to make
these commitments you have some
obligation and these commitments to like
I’m not committing to these three things
I’m committing to this one thing you can
commit to these other things right yeah
it’s tough I mean we are a situation you
know we have very helpful grandparents
we’ll take them to places I hate to I
hate when they do it not because I hate
that they help I just don’t want to put
them out more than they already assist
so we do have that in place and I feel
like that’s maybe taken advantage of I
don’t know I definitely this entire
podcast I feel like two days ago I was
thinking maybe I need to start therapy
again and I feel like we’ve been sitting
here and I’m like just run and buy all
my problems while we’re talking about
this and I’m sure you know when my wife
listens we’ll lose our only faithful
listener is that the better well
and speaking about therapy I was
thinking of this and this is what I
wanted to say earlier and I forgot so
I’m gonna say it now it’s like how many
kids have used I know you’re limited in
your therapy practice yet but how many
kids or family members or adults you
think are in therapy because there was
some clothes in a basket in the living
room or the bathroom was a little dirty
or you know dinner was a little late
like those aren’t the things that end up
putting people in therapy what ends up
putting people in therapy is I didn’t
feel like my parents loved me I didn’t
feel appreciated I didn’t feel like the
things that I wanted mattered you know
those are the things that I mean and
maybe I’m saying that as a justification
because I got clothes piled up on my you
know dresser that aren’t put away
they’re sitting there in a pile all
folded and I need to hang up my work
stuff and put my clothes away and I have
it so maybe I’m just justifying my own
stuff but I don’t think those at the end
of the day it’s like what really matters
you know and it’s that our kids feel
loved and supported and and that what
they want to do and need to do matters
but don’t necessarily put all that on
they are older now your 14 year olds
they can start making some choices for
themselves and you know realize hey are
you want to make all these commitments
this is what comes with it if you can’t
uphold your end of the bargain then you
can do it right right yeah no I do and
no I mean I don’t think unfolded clothes
sends people to therapy later in their
life I do think people people’s early
life experiences are probably
exacerbated by their inability to feel
like they can
keep up with life frequently like that’s
very anxiety-producing later in life and
drawls up those childhood experiences I
will say that kind of stuff is gonna
send me to therapy right but yeah I do I
hope they know I love them I struggle
sometimes my 10 year old boy I feel like
he’s constantly on xbox and I know
that’s what 10 year olds do but it’s
like man I I try to pull him aside at
times just like dude I know like you’re
not available to talk too much but I do
like talking to you and I love you and I
you know whenever he does ask me to do
something I really try to even when it’s
not what I want to do he wanted to go
out in the goddamn dark the other night
and kick the soccer ball around I’m like
soccer balls we can’t see it so I mean I
guess one of the important takeaways man
recovery has definitely helped me give a
like I care I care that I want to
be better I want to be a good dad I want
to do my best I want to definitely not
be the guy who ends up using again and
stealing his kids Christmas
presents and like I’ve heard that story
and it’s tragic and I would be that guy
if I use right but even without using I
can still be a jerk and uncaring and but
I don’t I want to care I want to be here
today and be valuable and important and
guide them healthily so Thank You
recovery for for that right if nothing
else yeah and I will say and just to
actually agree with your point a little
bit I have heard our society is really
bad at feeling some obligation to keep
our kids entertained and amused at all
hours of the day anymore that’s right
now that it’s right at Sarge yeah and
and we shouldn’t have to do that like
that actually can kill like creativity
and imagination and those things so
sometimes some downtime and bored
boredom quote on what boredom time can
inspire them to be greater people I
think I read that Steve Jobs wouldn’t
let his kids have iPads because he said
not he said the distraction took a
from the boredom time in the boredom
time was where iPads got invented in the
first place he’s like that’s where all
creation comes from is the boredom
so yeah I don’t know I guess bored I
mean there leads to creation or heroin
I don’t you got anything else to add
this week yeah I think I’m good
talked about parenting enough yeah I
guess that’ll be the topic parenting
sort of yeah all right well thanks for
listening as always feel free to leave a
message if your own anchor or can get to
anchor or you can now reach out to us on
Twitter of course with at recovery sort
of or you can email us it’s recovery
sort of at gmail.com I hope everybody
has a great week so that wraps up this
week’s episode as always feel free to
join the conversation if you’re on
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sort of is all one word and I hope
everyone has a great week