23 Mar Out of Denial and Into Recovery
I feel immense gratitude to the New Life House community. I am Mom to one of the wonderful recovering young men at New Life House, and am very grateful to all of them, the graduates and the staff. I cannot imagine a more appropriate environment for a young addict/alcoholic to to get sober and learn how to live.
I found my way into the NA program in my mid-twenties, and it saved my life. I discovered a new way to live through the twelve steps and creating a conscious contact with a Higher Power. I continued to work a strong program throughout my thirties and although I distanced myself as I got older, my life was great. When my children were grown, my husband and I decided to adopt a child through the county foster care system. Not only did we think we could provide advantages that a child in the system would not otherwise have, but I felt uniquely qualified to be able to spot addictive tendencies and help if such issues were to arise. From the moment I held that beautiful baby boy I loved him as my own. That love grew as he did, and still does.
When he first started showing signs that he might be having issues with drugs, I moved into denial and managed to convince myself that I was imagining things and projecting my feelings onto him. He was very good at manipulation and hiding things and I became very good at justifying and turning a blind eye to lots of “red flags”. I realize now that I was his biggest enabler.
It took an overdose and seeing him not breathing in the ER, to wake us up to the fact that our boy had a problem. We launched into high gear problem solving mode, and immediately got him into an out of state wilderness program. When the therapist from the wilderness program called to say “your son doesn’t have a drug problem; he is an addict!” I had to come out of the fog of denial where I had been hiding.
It was suggested that we attend Al Anon, which we did, because we wanted to find out how to help our son. What we learned was that in order to help him we had to look at our part and work on our own recovery. We have a parent Al Anon group that we attend on a regular basis in addition to the twice monthly meetings we attend at New Life House, where our son is currently living. We have learned that we need to let go of all illusion of control over him and his life, and hope that with the help of his New Life House brothers and staff, he will find his way. This is his journey now.
For me, walking back into the rooms of NA and identifying as a newcomer was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and one of the best. I know now that working an active program in my life is the only way I can help my son. Today he knows that I really do understand what he’s going through because I share with him that I am having or have had many of the same struggles he is having. Today when we talk we are actually communicating because we can hear each other. Sometimes we walk the path together, but mostly we have our own journeys, and I get to watch as he walks ahead on his own.
Today I work the steps in my own program with a sponsor. I read, write, pray and meditate daily. In this way I have reconnected with my Higher Power and gained the faith that He will help me find my way. I know there is no guarantee that my son will not relapse. Some days it’s all I can do to put one foot in front of the other and do the next right thing for the right reason. I do know that with my spiritual program to guide me I will be able to handle whatever comes next.
-Lois G., New Life House mother