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Facing Obstacles in Recovery

Bo Brown
| April 20, 2017

In a perfect world, there would be no relapse in recovery. There would be no temptations, disappointments or breaks in trust. But the world that we live in is not perfect.

We all have to find a way to navigate through life, through all the twists and turns in the road. Each person must choose which paths to take—whether that is an easy path, a helpful path, or a path that leads to a dreaded head-on collision.

We are all on a road to somewhere. It is important to know that each person is responsible for his or her own driving skills. That reality is difficult for anyone who cares about a person in active addiction or addiction recovery. Things can be more difficult when that person that is constantly veering off into the ditch is a family member or loved one.

I had a family member who identified as an addict long before I knew I was an addict. Although we shared the same genes and some of the same personality traits, I always told myself I would never be like that person. As the old saying goes, “never say never”.

I grew up and saw my family member go in and out of treatment centers and achieve long bouts of sobriety, only to have relapse occur again and again. I supported that person, avoided that person, and sometimes just ignored that person. It was so hard to believe in my family member, only to be disappointed and deceived time after time.

When I found my own life spiraling out of control, I wasn’t sure that recovery was possible. My view of recovery was changed just because of what I had experienced through this family member. I decided to dig in with all of my will and do what was best for me. I went to meetings, I listened, and I took what I could from the wisdom of others. I distanced myself from old friends and steered clear of those who I knew were not good for my recovery. I read and educated myself on everything I could get my hands on. I prayed and when that was not enough, I prayed some more. I believed in myself when I felt that others didn’t. I put as much effort into my recovery as I did my addiction. I got up each day and did the same thing over and over again. Three years later, it is still working.

Today, my family member is still struggling from day to day. It has been a long 35 years of being in and out of the program. It terrifies me.

To my family member: I hope you understand why I have to distance myself from you. It is not good for me. It is not good for my own recovery and my peace of mind. I will pray and love you from afar, but will not be complicit in your life. My dream is that one day you will find peace and we will be able to walk together in recovery. Until then, I must let you go. I pray that you find the strength to believe in yourself and that you truly want healing and peace in your life. It is there for the taking. All you have to do is surrender, accept recovery and be willing to put up a good fight!

If you would like to share your story with Heroes in Recovery you can contact me at: When you share your story, you help break the stigma associated with substance use and mental health disorders . Please feel free to share my blog and comment. I love hearing from others!



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