“whats my job on this planet? what needs doing that I know something about, that probably wont happen unless I take responsibility for it?” Bill George - LEGACY
We have been at the coal face with drug addiction for over two years now with 8 males in recovery from ice addiction and 1 male in recovery from alcohol addiction. Our team regularly receives contact from women asking us to work with their husbands, sons, and nephews that have substance addictions. Due to the nature of our teams lived experience all of this makes sense.
What makes working with addiction harder than it needs to be is enabling parents scared of losing their children to the horror stories they hear on the news. A parent that foregoes their own boundaries to protect their children from the emotional and physical pain that comes with addiction, gives the addict permission to walk all over them, especially with ice addiction.
Lately we have been contacted by mothers and fathers that have sons between the ages of 12-17, usually after the Hard Cuddles team has presented or spoken to a younger group of males or females. It has been so refreshing to mentor and connect with the next generation and to see parents being pro-active about supporting their children’s emotional well-being.
When we started Hard Cuddles, I was well aware the first wave of clients that came through the program would primarily be addicts drawn to the program because of my battle with addiction and we welcomed the challenge knowing that we would be able to create change and target hidden emotions that lay behind an addicts need to distract themselves from their own feelings.
The real change is going to come from encouraging teenage males to understand themselves and why they feel the way they do. It is easy for me to channel my former teenage self as I still very much feel like a teenager trapped in a man’s body. I can still remember the need to fit it with the crowd and I can still remember wanting to impress my friends with risqué behaviour.
The one thing I didn’t have was a mentor that I knew had walked a path similar to mine, a mentor that I could trust and share my feelings without judgement. My father is one of the most loving and supportive males placed on this earth, but he was dad. No way could he have ever smoked bongs in a park or punched on at a train station with his mates. I just assumed he was always a dad.
The idea that a young man can regularly catch up with a strong male role model and share his feelings, his challenges, talk about school, talk about girls and ask for advice on applicable scenarios makes sense. So this is precisely why we are moving towards working more with teenage males in a mentoring capacity, a sounding board for authenticity and truth.
As well as the one on one sessions we are offering an Into the Wild Retreat set up to provide a rite of passage journey for any young man to come away and spend time in the wilderness learning how to hunt, learning how to read the ocean, understanding how a particular eco-system works and connecting with men that have learned how to balance their warrior spirit with empathy.
Teenage males are the future, the team at Hard Cuddles view them as a blank canvas. They have all the structure and materials set up to paint a masterpiece but they need some gentle direction with the brushstrokes. We are now focusing our energy on producing quality young men that will be comfortable with their own company and ready to lead the generation after them.
To all the parents that have seen their children struggling and acted on it immediately, you should be proud of yourselves. From our perspective it is so much easier to mould a young man is in his teens that is still very open to change and exploring different concepts. Letting behavioural challenges go and managing adult males struggling with addiction and set in his thinking, is not.
Love and prosperity,
James “the hammer” Harding
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