National Recovery Month. Definitely something to celebrate.
Hearing the personal stories of women and men who have cracked the code of substance use disorder and established recovery – a day at a time – is incredibly uplifting.
It reaffirms the hope that recovery is always possible.
No one gets there without struggle, hard work, and a strong commitment to change on every level of their being: physically, mentally and spiritually.
The gifts of hope and change are not limited to the person identified as “the addict.” Addiction is a disease that impacts an entire family system, so every one in that system needs their own process for recovery and sources for hope and change.
National Recovery Month gives us the opportunity to understand more fully that substance use disorder is a disease, not a disgrace, and that people can and do recover to discover a better destiny for their lives.
Quite honestly, I love a month dedicated to recovery because it helps eliminate what I bluntly call the dirt bag stereotype so many people have about addiction.
The person struggling is someone’s family member, friend or loved one. The genetics, brain chemistry, circumstances, symptoms, behaviors and uncontrollable cravings of addiction takes human hostages.
But it cannot destroy the value and dignity of that person’s heart and soul.
Almost every day in the village where I have lived for most of my life, I see people who are powerful examples of recovery. Many of these people I know from 12 Step fellowships like AA and Ala-non. Others have crossed my path (there are no coincidences in life) as we have lived together in close-knit faith, learning and neighborhood communities for decades. They are out walking a dog, or working at a bank, running for a commuter train or waiting on a check- out line.
Sometimes we get a chance to talk, and most times when we do, it’s not even about addiction and recovery. Other times from a distance we greet each other with a quick wave of the hand.
But when our eyes meet, there is always a sense of knowing the deeper experience and purpose we share.
These people are all different ages. Some are those who are living sober lives. Others are the parents, siblings, grandparents and friends of those suffering from addiction who have supported their loved ones on their journey to recovery.
Either way, we share the hope that we can all stay the course to live purpose-driven lives.
Whenever these encounters happen, it always puts a pause in my day – even for a few seconds – to soak in tremendous gratitude for our shared journey.
And, especially this month, we can all celebrate those who – on whatever path they chose to take – have found their way back to their right destiny.
The destiny of a life guided by gratitude, fulfillment and service because they were given the priceless gift of another chance.
For information and guidance for help and resources for you or your loved one please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nancy is co-author of Unchained: Our Family’s Addiction Mess Is Our Message. Available on Amazon.com