Old keys don’t unlock new doors.Unknown
This week there is an amazing invite on the calendar.
After the breathless sprint to the finish of the holidays (which truly starts the day after Halloween) we can hit the reset on New Year’s Day.
NYD has always been about recalibrating. Making resolutions may sound like a worn out cliché. But for families struggling with the systems illness of substance use disorder, resolutions can be a powerful.
Think about it.
As the symptoms of addiction takes over family system, we can fall into some very unhealthy behavior patterns. When my beloved son was deep in his heartbreaking struggle with opioid and alcohol addiction, my default was fear, anxiety, grief, anger, and a good dose of despair.
I completely lost the sense of who I was and what my family could be. I witnessed my beautiful son slipping away into murky quicksand and I, too, slipped away right beside him.
I love the adage: “Old keys don’t unlock new doors.”
Throughout the years my family struggled with the illness of addiction, I needed to find new keys to unlock the maze of doors we all were trying to open.
With the help of a good friend, I had an epiphany on the New Years’ Day when my son was homeless hundreds of miles away, just a few months before he experienced his own epiphany that launched his recovery. That conversation with my friend was brief, but it helped me reset my resolve not to not lose myself in the grip of this family systems illness.
And in turn, I was better able to walk the difficult journey with my son and the rest of my family.
On New Year’s Day I ran into Evelyn, my first newspaper editor, at an event. She was bureau chief in an office that had a fraternity house vibe. Evelyn and the guys had coined a nickname for me: Nanny McCanny. I wanted to put on a happy face for Evelyn, but she is not someone you can fool. Instead I told her my son was a homeless addict. Evelyn did not address JP’s situation. She simply said, “Nanny, remem- ber who you are. Remember who you are.”Excerpt from Unchained: Our Family’s Addiction Mess Is Our Message
Remember who you are.
Her words cut through the failure and self-loathing I was wrapped in.
Remember who you are.
I thanked her. It was sound advice I needed to hear from a good friend on the first day of a New Year.
What new key can you grab hold of in this new year?
Please share here. We can all be inspired by our collective experience, strength, and hope.
Nancy and her son, JP, are co-authors of Unchained: Our Family’s Addiction Mess Is Our Message. Their book tells the true story of JP’s descent into opioid and alcohol addiction to recovery to become co-founder of a national treatment healthcare system.