I guess I hit the jackpot because both of my sons have graduated New Life House!
I can honestly say now that I am grateful for my sons’ addictions because it brought us ALL to a better place. I could not have said that one year ago, when I didn’t know if my oldest son was dead or alive, MIA on heroin. Many sleepless nights filled with fear, calls to the ER and jails, replaying all the mistakes I made as a divorced “single” parent, and enabling addictive behaviors, etc., all dominated my existence.
My relationship with New Life House began over 10 years ago, when my younger son entered the program. That’s really when I began to discover the world of addiction and how it wreaks havoc in all our lives. Miraculously, he is still clean and sober, sponsors young men, and visits New Life House regularly. When he was there, I attended several family BBQ’s and was in close contact with the directors (we live out of state.)
I’ve often fondly referred to New Life House as “a frat house without the kegs.” The brotherhood, the camaraderie, and the accountability between the young men are a huge reason it works and the success rate is so high.
Once I could relax for a moment, knowing my boys were safe at New Life House, I knew that I needed to address my own recovery and began attending Al Anon. I found this support system very helpful, and slowly I began to look at my part of the picture.
I learned more about how my actions (and non-actions) had a ripple effect on how my sons addictions played out for them and the consequences of their behaviors were more immediate.
Because I come from a long line of co-dependents, I wasn’t “cured” immediately and would still enable my oldest son when i felt desperate to have some connection with him, however unhealthy that might have been. Looking back, I know that each time I enabled, it only slowed his process towards recovery. My behaviors were prolonging the inevitable. I used to pray he would be stopped, “hit his bottom”, anything short of death. Finally, he got arrested, and the judge agreed to offer him New Life House instead of jail. Since we already knew about the program, because of his younger brother, my eldest agreed to the one-year commitment. We were on our way… again!
One of the most amazing benefits has been that my sons are now true brothers. Also, they both understand that supporting others, giving back, and taking one day at a time is crucial to their sobriety. They had not been close and the devastations of addiction had taken its toll on their relationship over the years.
My sons and I now have healthy relationships. I can say “no” and not worry about the repercussions, or that they will not shut me out or withhold love from me because I have clearer boundaries, crucial to my own program.
So here we are, two sons completing the New Life House program. Miracles happen!