By Amy Young, Family Peer Support Specialist
September is Recovery Month, a perfect time to reflect on what recovery means for me and my family. As the mom of a 30-year-old son who has struggled with a substance use disorder for over 10 years, I understand the impact one person’s struggles can have on the entire family. Every family member has a different perspective of their loved one’s choices and reacts differently. Over time, I have learned how to respond to not only my son’s decisions, both good and bad, but also how to react to other family members as we all try to understand this path in life we’ve been given.
When I looked in the dictionary, I found two definitions for the word “recovery.” Both are very profound and accurate. The first one is, “to return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength.” That’s what I want for my son. I want him to function normally again, in his mind. I believe that will lead to him being healthy, where he gains strength–the strength to face the battle before him. I know it won’t be easy, but I believe it can be done. I believe he can do it. I must believe this, even if there are days where he doesn’t.
The second definition is “the action or process of regaining possession or control of something stolen or lost.” That is MY version of recovery. My son was stolen from me when something stronger than my belief in him took control and possessed his very soul. I intend to recapture—to recover– what was taken from me.
Recovery is a path that we walk together as a family. Every family is different in how they approach recovery for their loved ones and for themselves. However, we all deserve to recover. It took me a long time to accept that I deserve recovery as much as my son. Accepting that we may not find recovery simultaneously. I have found peace in walking this path with him, celebrating small victories, hoping they will lead to big ones. I believe, eventually, we will both find recovery.
The main belief that guides me is this: I believe there is hope for every family and for everyone with a substance use disorder. And I’ll never give up trying to rebuild what has been broken.