Perseverance: A Mom’s Story of Addiction, Recovery and Hope
Our son has played sports his entire life. As a child he was active, full of energy and eager to play every sport. His dad coached him during his youth and said that he was easy to coach as he learned quickly and followed instructions well. As he reached his teens he grew more competitive and focused on playing football and baseball and was planning to play baseball in college. In high school, he excelled in both sports and it was his greatest pleasure and a memorable time for our family.
As parents, it was fun and exciting to watch our son play. At times it was hard for us to refrain from getting too involved from the sidelines. We had to remind ourselves that it was time to let go and entrust the high school coaching staff to mentor as well as give instruction. They had the experience and were better equipped to do their job. It was great to witness not only that our son was a good athlete, but also earned good grades and maintained good balance and discipline with school and sports. He followed the trainer’s strict diet and focused everyday on getting enough rest, never missing a practice or game and always being on time. A supportive team player who encouraged his teammates, he helped boost their morale by hosting many weekly team dinners. He was surrounded by a lot of friends and had a great rapport with his coaches who recognized his commitment and leadership.
In his senior year, our son suffered a neck injury during a football game. He was prescribed pain medication and developed an addiction, eventually turning to heroin and other substances. Things spiraled out of control quickly for him and our family.
What we witnessed were behavioral changes that we at first didn’t understand or accept. Our son eventually turned into someone we didn’t know or even recognize. He lied, stole and manipulated. It was hard for us to accept the fact that our son was a drug addict and couldn’t be trusted. Our first thought was that it wasn’t possible. He had proven to be sensible and self-disciplined in everything he did until now. In the span of a year, he had OD’d once, been arrested twice, become homeless, and caused several car accidents. We realized then that we had no control. Drugs had taken complete control of him and created havoc in our lives and everyone around him. The friends who had once surrounded him were gone and he was alone in a deep dark place.
Despite being in and out of several rehab programs, our son’s true recovery began at New Life House when he was 19. Because sports have played a huge role in his life, we can’t help but relate that experience with what we witnessed through his recovery.
Our son had accepted the fact that he was powerless over drugs and had no other options. He entered New Life House willingly and from that point and on we let go and placed our trust into the hands of the management staff and program. Just as we trusted the high school coaching staff, we had confidence that the staff at New Life House was well equipped with experience and knowledge. Like the coaches, the managers worked closely with the house members and got to know each individual well. We saw the entire house as a team, its house members working together everyday to stay focused while supporting and encouraging one another, at the same time forcing each other to be accountable for their actions.
Each time we came to visit, we saw our son’s strong commitment to the program at New Life House. We always believed that if he utilized his talent, strong will and perseverance that he displayed with sports toward his recovery there would be no question that he would be successful. He proved us right and we thank New Life House and AA for helping him continue to achieve that. Our son has matured into an independent self-sufficient young man with more kindness, empathy and wisdom. It was amazing to witness the leadership role he demonstrated just as he had done with his teammates, this time guiding and supporting the new members throughout his entire stay in the house by bringing them each time we went out for lunch, dinner or a movie. He said that it was good for them to have a change of scenery so they don’t get bored.
Our son recently turned 22, sober now for over two and a half years and working as a counselor with others in recovery. We are so grateful for New Life House and the second chance in life it gave our son. We watch with amazement and pride at his devotion and selfless work to help others. Just as we cheered him on in the sidelines at high school games, we now cheer him on for the son, brother and man that he is today. We will always be his biggest fans.