Too many young people are becoming addicted to drugs/alcohol. Our Young Addicts is a community of parents and professionals sharing experiences, resources and hopes on the spectrum of addiction, treatment and recovery.
You know the question about whether you see the glass half full or half empty; in may ways, this is an appropriate model for parents of young addicts. It refers to your mindset and point of view. Either vision is accurate, it’s a matter of attitude and perspective.
Even in the depths of my son’s struggles with addiction and mental health, I always had hope. In time, that hope became belief.
At first, my hope (the glass half full), was fueled by thinking and wishing that that he would stop using drugs, get help (treatment) and return to a happy, healthy life (recovery). To me, this made sense. It was a logical progression.
During his many bottoms, and yes there were MANY, there were times that others would sweat the glass was half full, if not empty. I refused to believe this. It was not denial; absolutely not. It was reality, however, that the more he used, the more he suffered, the more our family’s hope would diminish.
We worried. We wondered if he was going to make it, if he could turn things around, if he would ask and or get help. If anything, it was his denial of a problem not ours.
While we could not predict the future or will it into being, we never lost hope. The glass remained half full, if not three quarters full!
This perspective sustained me and helped out family believe in the possibility of our son’s recovery.
I am a naturally positive person, some might even call me Polly Anna, but without a doubt my attitude and perspective pulled me – if not my son – through. I hope it will you, too.
I learned that hope precedes belief, and to me, this it the process that shifts perspective from a glass half empty to half full to three quarters full. Wishing you and yours the same.
You’ve heard the saying, “It’s always darkest before the dawn.” It’s something my mother used to tell me, and as I grew older I thankfully learned she was right.
Throughout my son’s addiction, when not only the nights seemed dark but the days as well, our family always looked for the bright spots – the bright spots we hoped would be ahead. Sometimes, we would get a small bit of sunlight and it would make us hopeful for more. Then it would dim and darkness returned.
As his days became darker and the light was less and less, our family learned to move forward. There remained a shadow of his addiction no matter what we did, but we found our own guiding lights and the hope that each new day would bring – if not for him, for ourselves.
Addiction is a time warp for the addict as well as their family and friends. We wonder when it will end with the hopes that it becomes a transition to recovery as opposed to the unthinkable end to end all ends.
From Addiction to Recovery
The pivot from addiction toward recovery often comes on unexpectedly but no less gratefully. When night turns into day, it is a miracle of sorts.
One year ago today, our son was in the depths of his addiction. He had been to treatment several times. He had recently relapsed horrifically just a few months after an in-patient program and halfway house transitional program. I feared we were coming to the end – not the good kind of end. I could not believe how bad it had become.
It was as dark as it had ever been … and then, he was ready to stop being an addict and was ready to change. His recovery began on July 11, 2014, and continues forward. We are so happy for him.
And, we are immensely proud of him, too – we are learning that recovery is hard work. Recovery, while the opposite of addiction, is not necessarily all joy either. It too has dark days and nights. It takes an effort to see the light, and some days are easier than others.
The Sun is Shining
Most recently, I’ve witnessed some of the brightest days of our son’s recovery and it fills my heart with joy because not only is he sober, his personality is transforming in such a positive way.
Just last week, for example, he asked if he could go downtown with me over the noon hour. I had a client lunch and he thought he’d shop for his sister’s birthday present. I said, of course, however, I was leaving shortly. He doesn’t like to be rushed, so he hemmed and hawed about whether he’d be ready. Then he was concerned about how long the family dog might have to be home alone. I nudged him to make a decision one way or the other neither choice being right or wrong. Ultimately, he decided to come with me, but was non talkative during the ride as if he weren’t so sure he was glad to be going.
Now in the past, this might have been one of those get a ride with mom and then disappear for days at a time doing you know what. We’ve come a long way since then. Not only is there trust, he no longer yearns for the rush of scoring drugs and using, and he no longer wants that transient, lonely lifestyle. Phew – such a relief.
After my lunch, and to my surprise, he told me he’d run into one of his old tennis buddies from high school. They were grabbing lunch from one of the food trucks AND he invited me to come join them as they caught up. NEVER, in a very long time, has he encouraged me to participate in conversations with friends. Today, he was including me.
A couple of blocks up, I joined these young men as they chatted. We laughed, talking about the tennis days, and shared news of their siblings. My son was animated, smiling, laughing, conversational … he was happy.
Not only had he made the effort to go downtown, he got the unexpected positive reward of reconnecting with a former friend, and the chance to share updates of his own about going back to college, having a part-time job, and being sober.
Last week, the sun rose and shined as brightly as I’ve seen it in a long, long time. At many points over this first year in recovery, I have sensed the positive transition from addiction; each one has been amazing and this latest one was as affirming as any of them – my son is recovering!