It’s been over three years since our teenage son entered residential rehab. When I recently uncovered some notes I scribbled after he completed his three-month stay there, I regressed to my stark desperation of that moment.
When we pulled into the driveway at the rehab, I didn’t have a clue about what to expect. We knew only that drugs and alcohol were destroying our son and our family, and that this residential facility came with great recommendations and high hopes. What was rehab, anyway? I recognized that word only as it related to sports injuries and physical therapy.
Our son’s stay in rehab helped all of us regain our footing after substance abuse had sapped our joy and strength. For the first time in years, we could see our son start to heal and grow. Through the education, the 12-step work, the group meetings and counseling, he gained self-understanding and insight. He was given the gift of a fresh start.
We were given a break from the insanity and a chance to regroup. We were also given a chance to clearly define what was acceptable in our home and our lives, and what wasn’t. Our son-yes; drugs and alcohol-no.
The family education changed our lives and the way we interact with our son. We learned about the disease of addiction, its impact on the family, and how to break the cycle of enabling. We learned that addiction/alcoholism is a chronic disease and that the battle is life-long. But we have been armed with knowledge that helps us fight the wily foe.
How hopeless I was at the beginning, and how hopeful I have become. My backward glance reveals miracles that were precious then and shine even more brightly in the rear view mirror.