As many of you know, I have been on a journey learning about the allure of substance use for our teens and children. Even before the pandemic began, this country saw an alarming rise in teen and young adult vaping. This has led to over 1 million teens currently using nicotine. I have followed teens who moved smoothly from vaping nicotine to THC and from there to edibles, pills and alcohol. As our teens and young adults try to blunt the challenges of growing up in a 24/7 connected social media universe, I have seen the struggles of their families. I see families trying to stop the use, to reclaim the child they once knew and the future that looked so bright. I see them go through anger, fear, pain, despair, and frustration as they try to reach their children. I was one of those parents who's entire being revolved around rescuing my child from their choices. I was stressed, angry, depressed, and socially distant.
Then one day I started to look at life a little differently. I wondered where the me I used to know had gone. Where was the person who used to love learning new things, visiting new places, immersing herself in her favorite activities? Could I let go of the feelings inside me and bring the joy back into my life, the life of my family and my children.
If you want a great place to start thinking about the journey to recover joy, I recommend Bene Brown's book The Gifts of Imperfection. In particular, she talks about how closely joy and gratitude are linked. She has studied the question of joy and learned that everyone she interviewed who experienced Joy was very deliberate about practicing gratitude.
the point that resonated with me was that the things we remember are the small things. The everyday activities that we share which bring us the most joy and remain in our memories. For me, this has been the start to my journey back to joy. I am working to recognize and collect the small moments of joy.
Check out Bene Brown in her own words here - https://globalleadership.org/articles/leading-yourself/brene-brown-on-joy-and-gratitude/
So this is the start of my journey to recover joy. I look forward to sharing that journey and hearing from others about how they too are able to bring joy back into their lives.