Addiction has been generational in my family.
I know for a fact it goes back at least four generations to when my maternal grandfather, Frank Conroy, died in the street an alcoholic.
Recovery, thankfully, has also been generational in my family.
It was knowing the brutal story of my grandfather’s life and the stories of family members, who broke the chain of addiction and established recovery that ultimately pushed me to cross the threshold and seek help at my first 12-Step fellowship meeting 29 years ago.
As my mother said, “What do you have to lose? It’s an hour of your time and a dollar in the basket.”
I did not realize that night when I went to my first 12-Step meeting how that decision would ripple out like a smooth stone thrown in a pond decades later.
I did not realize that my only son would face his own life-threatening struggle with the disease of addiction in his teens. I did not realize the desperation our family would feel for his suffering, his dangerous choices and his safety. I did not realize that many painful years later he would courageously begin his own day-at-a-time recovery journey.
JP celebrated 10 years of recovery this month. His decade- long journey has included answering an inner calling to work in the recovery field starting out as a night shift detox tech. He worked his way up in the field in a variety of jobs to become co-founder of Ark Behavioral Health in Quincy, Massachusetts.
Recovery is a gift that must be shared to be kept. As part of our commitment to helping others, JP and I co-wrote, Unchained: Our Family’s Addiction Mess Is Our Message, to share our family’s story of generational recovery with the hope that it helps another family.
JP’s life attests to the hope – that recovery is always possible.
“A lot has changed over the past decade with me. It hasn’t all been easy or fun. That being said, I kept showing up to whatever it was I had to do… in conjunction with praying and staying sober.
I will say that prayer and remaining positive and solution-focused is likely what attributed to my life being saved. Ten years ago, I was homeless and unable to stop drinking and eating pills. I was empty, bankrupt emotionally and physically.
I wasn’t truly happy until I got sober. I wasn’t able to truly become a man until I got sober… I don’t wake up every morning biting my fist and holding my breath not to drink or eat a handful of Xanax.
It got easy after I consistently followed certain rules some of which I referenced above. I say this to hopefully show someone this solution is real. That recovery is possible. That you can be happy without having to be a slave to a substance.
I had people who guided me and shared their wisdom. If I have the opportunity to do the same, I want to seize it. This battle is life and death. I truly hope anyone struggling finds the courage to reach out for help.
I assure you, I don’t ever regret doing so.”
How have you broken the chains of substance use disorder in your family?What strategies have worked to help establish patterns of recovery in your life?
Please share here. We can all benefit from the wisdom of our collective experience, strength and hope. Thank you!
Connect With Nancy
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.