19 Feb Growing As A Family In Recovery
One of the hardest things for me to do when I was coming close to the end of my using was having to look my parents in the eye and lie to them once again. This became a regular part of my routine. I was used to having to fabricate some story about where I really was or what was really going on in my life. Things had to change for us as a family in recovery.
It was getting to the point where I ran out of things to say. It seemed that even though they knew what was really going on, I still thought that it was easier to try to make up a story than to just tell the truth. For some reason I didn’t want to face them with the truth. I had to try to hold on to what image I thought I had left of myself. I was willing to hurt and abandon my family so when they showed me that they were willing to show up for me and give me support when I got sober, it was truly mind blowing. Reconnecting with my family in recovery has been possible because of this support.
My family quickly became one of the things that I saw changing along with me. Before coming into New Life House, my parents had no idea what addiction was about. They had no idea how to deal with it or what it meant for me. As a family in recovery, we have learned a lot. I think I can speak for my parents when I say that we are all grateful to have found New Life House.
I have another brother who struggles with this disease and who has had a hard time getting things together. It has taken a lot of patience and courage from my parents to learn how to accept us for who we are and be willing to lean in with us and grow as a family. I know that one of the things I was always excited about and still am, is calling my parents to see how they are doing. Just to talk, and not to ask for anything or have to share some bad news. I know that this disease doesn’t just affect one family member. Even though I am the one in recovery, my whole family has been affected by this. Fortunately we have all been willing to grow from this experience.
When I first got sober, I was very excited to share this time with my family and it meant a lot to have them come and visit on the weekends. We really enjoyed the time we were able to just sit down with one another and talk about life and everything that was current and not have to worry about anything else going on. Having my family be a part of my recovery really gave me something to hold on to, especially early on.
My relationship with my family in recovery has grown a lot, but has also in some ways returned to how it was when I was younger. I remember also being close with my family when we were growing up. I am close in age with all of my siblings and we always did things together as kids. It’s been really awesome to be able to rectify those relationships and continue to build them. My older brother and I both really love surfing and we did it a lot when were younger but as we got older we grew apart and I was so worried about my own life that we never got to get together anymore to surf. Nowadays, we love using that along with other outdoor activities, to continue growing our bond and we talk almost every day.
I have quite a few nieces and nephews now too that I didn’t spend much time getting close to until I got sober. It’s been great to show up as an uncle to them now and make up for time that I never spent with them over the previous years. It’s just been so eye opening to me since I got sober how many people I have in my life to support me. And I think that is what I have really been able to see as one of the biggest factors in helping me to stay sober. The fact that there are so many people behind me on this journey and who are all pushing for me to succeed.
Though this has not been easy, it has all been worth it and my family has all grown so much from this experience. Since my family and I have been so close for so long, I think it is really easy for us to want the best for each other and when one of us is having a hard time we always have each other to help and support one another. One of the key things to help my relationship with my family to grow, is the ability to be honest and to build trust back. My experience with rebuilding my relationship with my family in recovery was pretty easy because I have always been pretty close with them. But I know for some it is not that easy and there has been a much bigger wedge put between the relationships. I always tell people to just never give up. Never give up hope that things will grow and get better, because from my experience and what I have seen, it always does. In some way or another the relationship always improves. It just takes time and patience.
I was always taught to never give up on loved ones. That is what was shown to me through my experience and my journey of getting sober and I have in turn learned to always pass that along to others and make sure I practice that in all my relationships. The family unit for me is where I was taught to love. And I owe it to my family for teaching me how to love others.
-Josh B., New Life House alumni