I came to New Life for my son, but I stayed at New Life for myself.
As my son got deeper into his addiction, I was beginning to become someone I didn’t recognize. I had always considered myself a strong and fairly level headed person, but watching my son spiral out of control eventually brought me to my knees. It was not over night for either of us; instead, it was a gradual process that I couldn’t see happening. Better yet, I wouldn’t ever expect to see this happen. Either way, it got to a point to where I woke up one morning paralyzed with fear and anxiety. I was afraid of everything. I was afraid of answering the phone; I was afraid of not answering the phone; I was afraid of my son being out of the house; I was afraid of his friends. Worst of all, I began to be afraid of being left alone with him anymore. This is where my story of recovery begins.
I didn’t know it at the time, but my first step toward recovery started when I called my mom. It was then that I told her everything that had been going on. From there, I then told my sister, my family, and eventually my friends. The most relieving aspect of finally telling people was the fact that every time I told someone, I was met with kindness and understanding, never with anger and judgment. My next step came with learning acceptance. As I sought advice from family, friends and professionals, it was difficult for me to accept that my son needed professional help. I couldn’t get it out of my mind that if I just kept him away from the friends that were a bad influence, if I just rewarded him when he did something right, or that if I just kept him busy, we could dig out of this hole. This was of course a failure. As a result, I accepted that we needed help and with tear-stricken faces, we took our son to his first 30-day in patient program.
During the next several months and numerous rehabilitation programs, I took my next step towards recovery in my education of addiction and co-dependency. I began reading books, going to a therapist, and I even attended my first Al-Anon meeting. This is where I started to realize that a 30, 60 or 90-day program would not be enough to help my son get his life back. So on his therapist’s recommendation, we headed to New Life House.
I had no idea what to expect but I knew that this was my last opportunity to help my son. I went to the first family meeting that my son would be participating in. I was feeling nervous for him and for myself, but left feeling hopeful for the first time in a very long time. I found myself at the house almost every Saturday, going out with my son and his new family. I trusted the amazing staff in helping me navigate through my son’s recovery. I began making friends of my own who could understand the heartache of an addicted child and who could help me in this process, and hopefully I could reciprocate that help back to them. I was getting stronger.
My son’s time in the house was not a smooth one. He relapsed with over 9 months of sobriety. He did choose to come right back; however, after another 5 months he chose to leave again. During these very emotional and difficult times I never once felt alone thanks to New Life. The support from staff members, parents, and the other young men in the house never stopped. These people had become my family.
I was doing all of these things for my son, but it took me a while to realize that it was just as much for me as it was for him. So as he continues to find his way, I am the one who keeps coming to New Life House and can’t express the gratitude for the willingness of this home to continue to allow me to be a part of their family. I brought my son to New Life in an attempt to change his life, when in reality it has been my life that has changed for the better.