When did you know you wanted to recover more than anything else?

Question: Do you remember the moment in which you knew you were done and wanted to recover more than anything else? What brought you to that moment?

Thank you for this wonderful question. To be honest, this is probably one of the most common questions I’ve been asked throughout my recovery. Looking back, I have experienced several defining moments throughout my recovery process, many of which brought me to a new level of understanding. Most moments, unfortunately, became just that—a “moment.” The motivation to continue was constantly overpowered by my personal disease and controlled by my addiction, ending always the same with a relapse. Most of the time, I wanted to be sober and desired a life in recovery; I just didn’t know how to stay motivated long enough to find that.

When I first got sober in 2014, I had absolutely no idea how long I would last and what my purpose was in this world. One of the most influential moments I can remember was right after I was released from prison and living in a residential program. All residents were required to attend a candlelight vigil for those who had lost their battle with substance abuse. Feeling completely broken, insecure, and totally lost, I remember looking around at all the families crying as their loved ones’ names were read off the list. Looking at the faces of people whom I had known, and whom I had been friends with at one point in time, I began wishing it was me who had died and not them. Selfishly, I questioned why I was still alive. After the names were read, a speaker came on stage to share some of his poetry. I was surprised to realize I knew the speaker and had grown up with him. My focus instantly shifted to his poetry, and I admired his courage to speak of his pain in such a way that allowed the crowd to understand. I remember feeling inspired in a way I hadn’t been before but also ashamed, hoping he wouldn’t see me. Once off the stage, he walked right over to say hello, expressing his happiness that I was receiving help. After talking for a little bit, he left me with words of hope. He said, “Keri, I promise you if you stick this out, one day you’ll be standing right here, speaking your story, and helping others. I’ll do whatever I can to help you find a job and get you involved in community work like this. Please just don’t give up! We are losing everyone.”

I received hope in that moment! For the first time, I believed that maybe, if I just continued and didn’t give up, my life would possibly become better. That was the moment I began to believe recovery could be possible. I became motivated and began to look forward, focusing on where I was going opposed to constantly looking back. I began to believe I had a purpose. Although I had learned something from each previous attempt at sobriety, this moment gave me a reason to continue even during the toughest times, when I felt like giving up. The poet kept his promise, guiding and teaching me throughout the last five years. Eventually, I worked side by side with him in the community, sharing my experience and sharing the message of hope. His encouragement that day marked the moment I began to want something more than my drug.

Sometimes we don’t realize the impact our words of encouragement have on others. Keeping encouraging, Mom!

Yours truly,

Keriann Caccavaro
A Daughter’s Perspective

Disclaimer: The above advice is not meant to be construed as medical or legal advice. If you need professional medical, psychological, or legal advice, please contact a doctor, lawyer, or medical center.

Keriann Caccavaro is a recovery coach, drug court advocate, and woman in long term recovery helping to support people struggling with addiction and their families. You can learn more about her on LinkedIn or Facebook.

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  1. Hi Keriann – Thank you so much for sharing your ‘moment’. I read it this morning and it moved me to tears. It is inspiring and hopeful and it reminded me of my son’s ‘moment’ (he is today four years clean and sober). Keep up the good fight Keriann – I’m rooting for you here in Pittsburgh!

  2. Thank you so much Keri! Your story gives me hope. My daughter just relapsed with alcohol this past weekend. I happened to call her and she was just 5 minutes away at the family beach and she asked that her dad come get her. This is during a pandemic and her next question was “can I sleep in my bed?” I said yes. This was not in the relapse agreement plan she, her dad, brother and his husband and I agreed to just before she was released from rehab 2 weeks before. When she arrived home I asked “What’s your plan?” She’d called her sponsor and they were going to talk later in the day and she was going to have to tell the other women she’d been living with in the sober house for the last two weeks. “I said good, you’ve talked to your sponsor and you have a plan.” Her brother and his spouse decided to have her live with them for the next week while she got back on track and could then renter sober living again. They didn’t want us exposed to any potential Covid infection and her dad and I understand she’d do better with them due to all the unintended dynamics living with parents again might cause. We’ve all been doing family counseling together for the last 15 months to help ourselves and help our daughter. That’s how I was introduced to Mompower.org and will always be grateful. We need to do the work too. Love and compassion makes he world a better place.

  3. Thank you for your honesty and hope given to me. I sometimes wonder if my daughter hears those words I hope she does.

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