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Lighting up the sky: when recovery becomes a beacon of hope

christopher campbell 28570 unsplash smallSubstance use disorder can beat us all down, whether we’re the person abusing alcohol/drugs or the abuser’s loved one. And the holidays can come down especially hard on all of us. We may be sad to find ourselves arm-wrestling with this mystifying brain disease at what should be a joyful time of year. We may be angry about past holiday disruptions and disappointments. And we’re most likely apprehensive about what the New Year holds. So, this is a good time to look at the miracle of recovery and meet several people who can be beacons of hope for us all.

One man, a young father, arrived at CSRS by himself. His wife had dropped him off at our doorstep without even a Goodbye. They were no longer speaking, and he was on the verge of losing his marriage and his young children. Fast forward to a post-treatment photo op when the entire family stopped by to help us put up holiday decorations. His wife was smiling and holding his hand. His kids – now pre-teens – were clearly connected to their dad in a happy, healthy way. It was an amazing gift to witness this family’s transformation from darkness to light, from desperation to possibilities.

Another one of our residents was a mother who came into treatment with significant legal issues that meant she might lose custody of her children. While she was in treatment for 90 days, her children were allowed visits with a CPS supervisor looking on. The next year, the family came back for a visit. The mom’s custodial rights had been restored, she was brimming with confidence, and you could see the love in everyone’s eyes. Mom jumped through a lot of hoops to keep her family intact, and she could only do that with a strong foundation of recovery.

People who get sober (and their loved ones) may consider it miraculous that they were able to get the drug or alcohol monkey off their backs. And that brings to mind a powerful Al-Anon saying: “Don’t leave before the miracle occurs.” We can’t predict when that miracle of recovery will take place, but I do know this: recovery will only happen if people get the support, guidance, tools and healing they need.

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