Until just a few years ago, this word was as foreign to me as if it was from another language.
a return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength.
the action or process of regaining possession or control of something stolen or lost.
I had my first brush with "recovery" in 2005. I was almost 40 years old. I had just given birth to my third daughter and I mean just, like less than 2 weeks, just. I'd driven with my aunt to take my mom to a treatment center two hours from home. It was the first time we'd confronted addiction in our family, ever. I was sad, angry and emotional. I had no idea what we were signing her up for, I just wanted her to stop drinking and feel better so that we could have a normal life. I drove back the following week with my newborn baby to visit her. A two hour drive with a newborn, nursing baby only to be told I couldn't sit in on the program because I had a baby and the baby wasn't allowed. I had to wait while the rest of the visitors were given the recovery presentation, then could meet with my mom privately. At the end of the visit my mom stood in the parking lot and begged me to take her home. It was brutal but not as brutal as her drinking so I shook my head no and got in the car and told her I'd be back the following Sunday.
We were invited to attend a family program at the treatment center while she was there and maybe if we'd gone, things would have been much different. My father refused, said it was her problem not ours and wouldn't pay for us to attend so we didn't learn what "RECOVERY" was or how to support recovery in our family. I picked her up after the thirty days and dropped her off at home, all alone. We had no instructions.
The second time what I now understand as a recovery program came in the form of Alcoholics Anonymous seven years later after a hospital detox and a seven year long relapse. After a series of frightening situations we asked her to please get help. What we didn't know was that we needed help too. Still her problem, not ours. She found AA and it became her new found salvation. She found what she'd been looking for all along. A place where she fit in, people who understood her and an abundance of friends. I still didn't know about "recovery" because it was her thing, not ours. The good news was, she was not drinking and she had finally found her tribe and that made her feel good, which in turn rippled out to better relationships with us.
The third time recovery knocked at the door was a year after my mom had found her fellowship in AA. My son had suffered two devastating losses and prescriptions drugs had taken over his life as he tried to block out the pain of losing his two closest friends in two separate tragic car accidents. A few days before his 20th birthday the doctor recommended residential treatment. I found myself dropping my first born son, my golden child off at the same treatment center that I'd dropped my mom off just a few years before. This time though I went to the family program they offered. I listened, I learned and I participated but recovery still didn't become a part of my vocabulary.
I still didn't get it. Recovery.
Two years later I would find myself driving up the long and tree lined drive that opened up to the sprawling center on the Chesapeake Bay for a second round of the family program with my son who'd come back to Ashley after an intervention that I believed saved his life and mine.
This time I came to it with a new mindset, a new lens, a fresh set of ears. This time was different. I'd begun a program and had been working it on my own, not knowing I was in a "recovery" program. I'd begun to recover what addiction in my family had taken from me and return to my natural state of being.
I'd published a book the winter before about recovering from a broken relationship and shared the practices I'd used to return to love and recover my heart that I'd learned while my son was in treatment the first time. I'd begun to recover my power, my health, my own heart and my own mind and by doing so it began to ripple out into my family. You can order a copy of Craving Love here.
It dawned on me that my son needed me to recover too. That the best odds of keeping this disorder in remission were on the side of recovery.
The greatest power in the world is the power to change your mind about something. I changed my mind about addiction and I immersed myself in recovery and learning the language of recovery. Learning the powerful effect of recovery and the people in it. The power of the recovery community is profound.
It was just about 4 months after that intervention, my son 4 months in recovery that he said to me, "I want to be on the other side. I don't want this to be about addiction anymore." And it hit me. He was directing me to "be about recovery." He knew intuitively that we had to speak about the power of recovery to end addiction. We had to speak from a place of healing to share with others the possibility and the hope that recovery holds. I had to fully embody recovery to understand it.
We had to return to a normal state of health, mind and strength to gain possession of what we'd lost to addiction.
Recovery is a process. It takes time and devotion. Science supports the recovery lifestyle as a way to cure addiction. Whole families need the same care, treatment, healing process, healthy life practices, community and love that individuals need to return to the natural state of being, to regain what addiction tries to destroy. Recovering together. It wasn't just one person in the families problem, it was a family health issue that needed to be addressed and healed as a family.
Recovery doesn't happen on its own. It happens through you and with you.
We are a family on the other side of addiction.
Recovery is the cure for addiction. All addictions.
And for heartbreak, grief, loss, emotional pain and trauma.
It's how you return to your true nature, a whole, loving being.
It's how you return to Love and get your Power back.
I AM DEVOTED,
To begin your family recovery journey all you need is a willingness to change. Our family is devoted to helping others get to the other side too. If you'd like a free guidance session on family recovery, reach out. I am sharing the wisdom gained on the journey and an education in recovery, spirituality, intervention and family systems. Reach out. That first step and a willingness is all you need. You can schedule your free session here www.ourloverising.com/the-cure-for-addiction.html or www.empowerintervention.com. It's where powerful family recovery begins.
Photo: The day I broke the silence about addiction in our family. The facing addiction rally in DC October 2015.
Family Recovery Advocate
I serve women seeking healing and transformation.
I serve people who have been impacted by addiction recover their lives.