What Does Recovery Look Like?
I wrote this passage three years after Jeff chose sobriety: My son’s growth is evident. He laughs more easily, he watches more calmly, he protects himself better. He knows where he hurts, and he pays attention to what is coming. He’s more reflective, thoughtful, less impulsive, and more honest. He has good friends. Part of my son died with the addiction, but the son I know is alive.
One year earlier, he told me, “When I awake in the morning, I know if it’s going to be a good day. Some mornings, I reach for a word and it’s like reaching into the fog. Other mornings, when I reach for a word, I pluck it easily out of the air.” He continued, “I’m frustrated that some days aren’t clear, but I guess it will take time. I need to be patient with myself.”
My reflection: We often write about the pain and chaos of addiction, but it’s also important to learn and write about the process of recovery. My son’s words remind me that we need to be gentle as our loved ones learn how to live in abstinence.
Addiction and recovery have taught me that education is critical, every step of the way. There are many trusted sources, including Al-Anon or other family groups, Hazelden and MomPower, professionals, and recovering addicts. Our loved ones are also wonderful teachers. If we approach them with loving kindness, they might share, and in the sharing, miracles can happen.
Today’s promise to consider: I will be patient with my child’s journey as he learns how to live a life without drugs. I don’t know what he’s been through, and I can’t assume to know how he’ll learn to live in the solution. What I do know is that it is his recovery, not mine, and I need to respect his journey. I also know that recovery isn’t a straight line to health and wellness. Just like healing from any other disease, time takes time, and the process is often painstaking. The joy is in recovery, one day at a time.