When a loved one finds recovery, life gets much better. But how do you make sure that you are giving it away?
A Gift Freely Given
When someone finds their way into recovery, their passage into sobriety is often accompanied by widespread relief on the part of their family, friends and loved ones. As they pass through the initial and often tumultuous first months, they eventually find themselves in a place of increased joy, happiness and freedom. This can be mirrored in the life of the family, who for the first time in a long time, don’t have to dedicate their every waking thought to worry, fear and apprehension for their loved one’s life and future. While this level of freedom is relieving, there is a lot of work that goes into achieving it, not just on the part of the alcoholic and his or her family, but on the part of all those that support them through this journey.
A Community Effort
Getting sober is something that can’t be done alone. For any new alcoholic or addict, a huge part of the process is finding a community that can pick them up, carry them and guide them while they learn what it means to live in recovery and adopt a new lifestyle. Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 step programs are based on a foundation of service, without any expectation of reward. While this is going on inside of the rooms of recovery though, there are other unsung heroes in the fight against addiction.
Families Giving It Away
So many young alcoholics and addicts would not actually be sober if it weren’t for the initial urging and efforts of their families. While sobriety is something that can be achieved even without familial support, it is very common nowadays for individuals, especially those getting sober young, to get a starting push from their loved ones. This can come in different forms, but many parents are familiar with the process of searching for a treatment program, recovery home, addiction counselor or therapist, and working diligently to set their child up for success. But before any of this happens, there is often another factor at play – a friend, loved one or co-worker who points them in the right direction based on their own experience.
Guiding The Way
Most of the time the journey to recovery begins because someone else who has had the experience of a loved one getting sober makes themselves available to someone in need. There are many ways this happens – a relative who has a child that struggled with addiction but is now sober reaching out, a co-worker who hears about someone’s struggles sharing their own message of hope, or a community member who has had a loved one find recovery sharing their story and offering guidance. Without these individuals vocalizing their own journeys and making an effort to reach out, many families with children now in recovery would not have found the help that they did. In a practical sense, it is this process of opening up and sharing an experience that keeps a flow of new individuals into recovery and gives struggling families hope.
A Spiritual Calling
Outside of the nuts and bolts of it though, there is a distinctly spiritual component to the process. Once someone has experience the relief that comes from their own family member getting sober, there is a level of gratitude that should develop, and with that gratitude a desire to share the gift that has been given to them. In Alcoholics Anonymous this is seen as a responsibility and a privilege, but even outside of the rooms of AA, this mentality of giving back is crucial for someone’s own spiritual health. How could someone not want to give away the freedom that they have been blessed enough to experience?
How To Give It Away
For alcoholics and addicts, giving it away involves spending time with newcomers, sharing their stories of struggle and recovery, being of service to their community and practicing a new, spiritual way of life in all of their affairs. As a parent or family member of someone in recovery, the process looks remarkably similar. Here is a simple list of questions to ask yourself when it comes to giving it away:
• Do you reach out to friends, family members and community members that have a loved one struggling with addiction?
• Are you open or willing to discuss how your own loved one got sober?
• Do you make it a point to find ways to support others who have newly sober loved ones?
• Do you participate in Al-Anon or another support system where you can be an example of hope to those still struggling?
• Have you taken time to reflect on what it felt like before your loved one got sober, and made an effort to relate that experience to others that may still be there?
While it is easy to become selfish once the immediate crisis of a loved one’s addiction subsides, it is important to remember that many would not be where they are without someone initially opening themselves and their life up in order to guide someone else through the process.
Are You Giving It Away?
Aside from the responsibility that comes along with the blessing of a loved one finding recovery, there is a level of joy that accompanies turning oneself towards service. Dedicating oneself to making sure that others have an opportunity to experience what you have is a truly rewarding practice, and only increases the joy that comes along with having a sober loved one. How do you give it away in your own life? Let us know below!