My recovery family today is a super dysfunctional crew of highly functional folks who show me by example that life is better when it's lived in community. Some days I marvel at the way I am firmly nestled in to this family, when I think about the lonely places I’ve come from. I love the psalm that talks about God “setting the lonely in families” because this has been my experience in recovery.
I know now that what I needed during the years of isolation and deep hurt of my addiction was a group of people who had been there. People who could show me that there was a way out. On the other side of my pain, a bright light was shining. I just needed a group of people to point it out.
On Saturday mornings, I love to make my family blueberry pancakes. My kids come into the kitchen when they smell the deliciousness and my husband lingers, asking if I need a hand. After we sit down and say a little thank you prayer, I look around at the eager faces around the table. I’m in awe. I can’t believe that today I am blessed with a little family of my very own. Saturday morning pancakes used to be a far-off dream and something that felt so unattainable.
The first time I sat down around a dark table of strangers at a recovery meeting, though I was a little terrified, I also felt a similar feeling: like I was home. I had finally found my people. My recovery family. The family I had been waiting for.
Over the years, this family has grown and changed (even crossed state lines); it has helped me find and maintain sobriety, lean more on my God, and given me the courage and boldness to be of service. My healthy recovery family (I said healthy—not, perfect!) has helped me heal and be able to share this healing with others.
Many of us have spent months without the ability to hug our loved ones or see our recovery family face to face. But now, some of the world is opening its doors again. The sunlight shines a bit brighter. The music is more upbeat. Even on days that my kids have me so tired I can barely see straight, I still have a skip in my step because the end is in sight.
Soon I’ll be visiting family I haven’t seen in over a year and I couldn’t be more elated! That’s why this month I want to focus on the concept of family. Family doesn’t have to be the little (or big) group you were born in to. We can choose our family, too. We can decide who we spend our time with and who we share our most intimate moments with: the tough times and also the joyful ones.
In my next free toolkit, I’ll be examining what makes a healthy recovery family and how we can be a healthy family for those who are in or seeking recovery from addiction and other mental health challenges. What are the values that are inherent to strong family relationships that can hold us up when the journey gets tough (because it will)? How can we be “set in families”? How can we be family for someone else who desperately needs it?
Let’s explore this together! Subscribe to get access to my next FREE download: Characteristics of a Healthy Recovery Family to your inbox! And as always, feel free to share with someone you think might benefit from connecting.