- Friends & Family
Submitted by: Abby Foster
A priceless gift of my recovery has been the healing of my broken relationship with my mom. During my active addiction, and especially during my teenage years, I treated my mother as though she were my enemy. She, along with the rest of my family, endured years of lying, manipulating, fighting, and periods of promise that were often followed by returns to use and disappointments. Through all of this, my mother has remained a great support for me even when I did not want her around.
I am extremely grateful that I have been able to work on developing an even stronger relationship with my mother today but that I am now able to give back and be a support to her. Thank you mom for always believing in me and never giving up hope.
The following is an interview I conducted with my mother discussing her experience during my addiction and recovery journey.
How long has your loved one been on their recovery journey?
Her journey began 21 years ago. She experienced many setbacks to using, but she has been abstinent for over three years.
What is the biggest positive change you have seen in their life since then?
She is able to love and to be loved. She had this as a child but lost it.
What led to their need for recovery?
After her many years of struggling with substance abuse she reached a place where she no longer recognized herself and had become someone she never wanted to be.
What led to your need for recovery from their disease?
Her decisions were causing problems in the lives of family members.
What was the turning point for them and your understanding of what this was?
When she realized that she could not be a good mother as long as she was using– and that she might even lose her child.
What is one important truth you’ve learned through the process?
A parent can help or hinder in the process but cannot “fix it”.
What are you most proud of about their life today?
She is using her gifts and talents to be a productive, loving and giving person and a wonderful mother.
What is your life like after your loved one addressed their addiction?
I have been able to develop a close loving relationship with her and am so glad to have my precious daughter “back”.
What is one of your biggest struggles in their ongoing recovery?
Dealing with the results of some of her bad choices.
How do you overcome that?
I choose to keep focusing on the future.
What part of your life do you find most satisfying since she chose recovery?
Having my daughter be a positive part of our family, someone we want to have around.
Is there a truth or piece of advice you have learned from your loved one in recovery?
Addiction is a disease that affects certain people, regardless of background and positive life experiences.
What is something you have learned through their process?
Family must learn to be supportive while refusing to enable bad behavior, a hard road to find and follow because you cannot have a productive relationship with someone in active addition.
What would you tell a loved one that is dealing with a situation where they know a family member needs recovery but they are afraid he or she does not want it?
We can’t control whether a person wants recovery or not. We can only control our responses to their behavior. So it is important that our responses to any bad behavior are ones that do not make us part of the problem. Accepting an addict’s bad behavior does not help him or her to seek recovery. Instead it makes it less likely that they will. Make their being in active recovery a condition of your supporting them in any way (help with money, living space, including them in plans, etc.). Believe what your gut tells you about their behavior rather than believing excuses. Talk to others who have dealt with an addict in their lives and join a support group like Al-Anon composed of people with whom you have some things in common. Believe that their behavior is not your fault.