Double Whammy

Those of us who deal with family members with addictions share very similar stories. But each of us has a unique story, too.

I thought about that when I was sitting in family week with my son, Connor, during his 60 day stay at a treatment center in Montana.  The families were sitting with their respective sons and we were all sitting in a circle at the group meeting listening and sharing when it dawned on me that I had experienced all this before.

When it was my turn to talk, I told Connor that I never thought I’d be doing this “family thing” again.  More than 30 years prior, I was sitting in a group session, in a circle with families I didn’t know, sharing our stories. But those many years ago, it was me at a treatment center in Minnesota with my father who was on his third or fourth try at treatment.

Then, I was the son. Now, I was the dad.  The double whammy hit me and I stopped talking in mid-sentence because the raw emotions of it all took over. What did I do to deserve this?  Where did I go wrong with both relationships to have this happen?  You know the pattern.

Fast-forward 32 years.  Fast-forward to today where I see a grandfather and a grandson connecting on a level only they can truly understand. Thirty-two years of daily sobriety for grandpa has a weight and magnitude that has true meaning not only for me – but for a grandson who sees day-by-day that it can work. And for me, the man in the middle, I couldn’t be more proud – one day at a time.

Someday, I hope to be there when grandpa walks through the door of New Life House to see where addiction treatment has come. But I really want to see how proud grandpa will be of his grandson – a New Life graduate – as he introduces him to the guys.  And the stories will begin once again.

-Kevin S, New Life House alumni father

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