A Family’s Recovery Journey

My recovery journey began about 32 years ago.  My 14-year-old son led me into action.  He was skipping school and not obeying the rules of our home. I was reacting like a crazed mother. Mainly, I was worried sick about his actions and knowing that he was using substances. I was afraid for his life.

After trying many avenues to get him help we decided to put him in a rehab program for juveniles. This program was very strict and used a family disease approach. I promised, during a conference with counselors at the rehab facility, that I would not drink any alcohol and all alcohol would be removed from the house. A week after I made that promise I drank wine with dinner to the point that I was drunk. I woke up the next morning with such remorse and a realization that I had broken my promise. I had been learning about the disease of alcohol addiction at the parent education programs. I remember hearing “if you think you have a problem with alcohol, you do.” This question never comes up for someone without a problem (a normal drinker).

I went to an AA meeting a couple of days later and announced my name, that I wasn’t an alcoholic, but I I wanted to stop drinking and had heard it works for people in AA.  They laughed at me but I was told after the meeting that if I don’t have a problem it would be a piece of cake for me. The third tradition was pointed out to me: “The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking”. I had the desire and about 3 months later after attending meetings I realized that I also had the disease. I broke through the denial and realized that I didn’t drink normally. I’ve not had a drink since that first meeting and my life is beyond my wildest dreams. Sounds easy, but it wasn’t. I had to work through the steps with a sponsor, go to meetings, read lots of literature, and commit myself to being a better person by doing the right things.

My life has not been without challenges. My husband died of lung cancer about 3 years into my sobriety. The child that was sent to rehab struggled with his addiction and ended up in jail from actions taken while drunk. Then he was killed in a traffic accident when he was 23 years old (even though he had no substances in his body at the time).  The most amazing thing is that I didn’t take a drink during all that pain. I was surrounded and carried through by supportive friends, family, and a faith in God that is unending. I am thankful that I found a new way to live and grateful for the son who started the process for this new way of life. His life had purpose and our whole family is better because he lived.