But when brokenness is all that you have, there’s little choice but to pick up the pieces and start again. ~ Carolyn Hughes
While it is almost the end of the celebrated recovery month for this year, recovery for any family member is a 12 month commitment.
It is wonderful to know that each day someone new makes the decision to live in long-term recovery.
It gives us all hope.
Many have recovered from the substance abuse that has ravaged their lives. Many more will recover in years to come.
The importance of sharing stories is that it reminds us that we are not alone. It lessens the stigma and increases compassion. It encourages us to shine a light on a national health problem that affects us all. Let’s continue to share our stories and help one another.
Here is my daughter’s story of recovery.
My daughter, like all my children, has brought me much joy and happiness as I watched her grow and find her way. Substance abuse, however, almost destroyed her life.
She started out as a typical little girl growing up in a suburban neighborhood thirty miles south of San Francisco. She excelled in elementary and middle school.
Her first two years of high school went smoothly. She joined the water polo and swim team which kept her busy after school. She was a strong math and language arts student. She had a quick wit, was social and had lots of friends.
The last two years of high school were challenging. Her grades started to slip and she just didn’t seem the same. Her father and I prodded her onward and encouraged her to do better, monitored her whereabouts, and tried to be on top of all that was going on. She struggled, but graduated from high school in 2003.
Despite her challenges she was accepted and excited to go to the University of Colorado. We thought this would be a positive turn in her life, but we were unfortunately mistaken.
She struggled from day one at college, not able to keep up academically, isolating and not adjusting in the way that we had hoped. After a series of probations and failed classes, she dropped out and took a part-time job. But soon she could not even keep that going. We knew something was terribly wrong.
This is one of the most complicated diseases there is because this is a brain disease. So the nature of this disease — the thinking is impaired, the self-preservation mechanisms — everything is about getting drugs. ~ David Sheff
When she was at a point where she had no where else to turn, she finally admitted she had abused alcohol, marijuana and was now abusing crystal meth. This was a habit she had started during high school. As parents, we were devastated. We were watching our daughter slowly destroy her life.
We sought help and she agreed to go to a five-week wilderness program, attend three months at a women’s treatment center and live in a sober living home for six months. You see it takes a long time for people who have had a drug or alcohol issue to live a healthy lifestyle again.
She embraced her program, graduated from college in California and is now has a job she loves in advertising. She has wonderful friends, a pet cat and a family that loves her.
She has often said, how sad it was that she had everything going for her, and threw it away for drugs.
It wasn’t easy. She almost lost it all. We continue to be so grateful that she was willing to dig deep, overcome her fear and take on the challenge to begin again.
When you love someone who suffers from the disease of addiction you await the phone call. There will be a phone call. The sincere hope is that the call will be from the addict themselves, telling you they’ve had enough, that they’re ready to stop, ready to try something new. ~ by Russell Brand
If you suspect your child of substance abuse:
1. Remain calm. Even though you may be feeling emotionally exhausted, know that when you approach your child in a kind, compassionate way, it can go a long way in encouraging them to seek recovery.
2. Face the reality of the situation. Parents can be in denial like I was and think this can’t happen to their kid. While it may seem easier to assume that your child’s substance abuse is a teen rite of passage, parents can be left baffled as they watch the substance abuse continue and their child slowly self destruct.
3. Seek outside help. It may be tempting to think you can handle your child’s substance abuse yourself, but often there are many underlying family issues that have contributed to the abuse. Find the courage to reach out for support. Get an objective opinion about your child’s situation.
4. Take care of yourself. Substance abuse is stressful. As they say in the airlines, put your oxygen mask on first. When you take care of yourself, it goes a long way to helping your child’s long-term recovery. You will then have the resources to help your child.
5. Know there is hope and that recovery is available to anyone. Addiction is a life long chronic disease that needs to be managed on a daily basis. While this may seem daunting, many are in recovery and are now living their best lives. They’ve turned a personal obstacle into an opportunity to grow and thrive.
The truth is that almost two-thirds of Americans have friends or family members who have struggled with addiction. Millions of people are in recovery. We live in your town, on your block and in your home, but still many people don’t know that treatment works, and that long-term recovery is a common reality. ~ William Cope Moyers
Do you have a recovery story? Please share in comments.
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