Ten years ago, our lives were a nightmare of chaos, drama, anger, despair, and terror. Every day was ruined by our daughters. Every time the phone rang, we were acutely aware that it could be the police telling us we needed to come and identify their bodies. At the very least, it was usually one of them, wheedling and manipulating us for money. Our lives had slowly become something unrecognizable, our home a war zone. Every day, I’d come home from work dreading what would be waiting for me: two daughters who were barely recognizable as the girls we’d raised. They were sullen and sneaky and beyond hateful. Monsters who were slowly killing themselves and, in the process, taking us with them. You see, our precious daughters had become heroin addicts.
My husband and I got ourselves into counseling when it became glaringly apparent that what we were doing to help them (pay their bills, give them chance after chance after chance to turn themselves around) wasn’t working. We began to change how we reacted to the daily drama. But what really brought their addiction to a screaming halt was our town’s Drug Court. They turned themselves in to the police after getting involved in some illegal stuff – and the Court stepped in. They were given two choices: get and stay clean, or go to jail. Well, there were more than a few bumps in the road, but ultimately – they both chose sobriety and a return to their place in our family and our hearts.
They’ve transformed from dead-eyed strangers to two young women I absolutely adore: wicked smart, absolutely hilarious (usually inappropriately), hard-working, and ambitious. Our older daughter is married and the mother of two precious little sweethearts I couldn’t possibly love more. She has hopes and dreams for her future and plans to go back to school to become a sonogram tech in a few years. Our younger daughter has worked her way up in Financial Aid at a local business school. She attained a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology while working full-time. She’s also married, and planning to start a family soon. They’re both fully engaged in life and society and our family. I’m so unbelievably proud of them and beyond grateful that they’re whole and healthy. I have to believe that they survived their addiction for a reason.
Tonight we’ll enjoy some of our favorite things: chips and queso and guacamole, cheese, crackers, and cupcakes. We’ll celebrate with waaaay too much food and even more laughter. I’ll encourage my husband to propose a toast – I know myself well enough to be sure that trying to put what I feel into spoken words would just result in tears. My heart is so full. And I know how impossibly lucky we are that our girls have returned to us.
Life is good, friends – so incredibly good.
This past summer I was super duper busy with my granddaughters, spending lots of quality time with my husband and family, deep cleaning my house, and just generally enjoying some time off work.
I kept meaning to share something with you but life seemed to get in the way: I was a guest on the Bubble Hour podcast! The Bubble Hour is a fantastic resource for anyone who’d like to get and stay sober. There have been a handful of hosts through the years, but the focus of the podcast has remained the same. There’s typically one guest who shares his or her addiction and recovery story.
The current host, Jean McCarthy, was warm and kind and welcoming. I was pretty nervous at first, but after a few minutes that wore off. It felt like I was talking to a friend – she’s just a wonderful person. She writes the blog “UnPickled,” too, which is another excellent resource.
So, if you’d like to hear my story – and my glorious flaaaaaaat “a” Western New York aaaaaaaccent, have a listen! Here’s the link:
You know that feeling when you meet someone and you instantly feel like they “get” you? You feel safe and comfortable with them right away – like you’ve known them forever?
I do. I’ve met two incredible women “IRL” (In Real Life) through my blog and the Booze Free Brigade (the private FaceBook group I belong to). One of these new friends lives about 10 minutes away. I’ve met her a handful of times for coffee and/or early morning walks. Our lives have many dissimilarities, but we each understand where the other is coming from. We’ve been able to share our stories, openly and honestly. And it’s a beautiful thing, the power of “me, too….” There’s absolutely nothing like talking to someone who has walked the same path and experienced the same struggles and triumphs.
I can trace the other friendship back to a specific date: April 14th, 2015. That’s the date she emailed me after stumbling onto my blog. What began as a casual email conversation has bloomed into what I truly believe will be a lifelong friendship. She and her husband traveled to our town over Labor Day weekend, and we spent a couple of days talking, eating, shopping, and mostly, sharing and laughing. It was also great for my husband to be able to talk to hers – and for them to be able to share their experiences with each other.
Well, I guess the point of this post is to encourage you to reach out and make connections with people who understand this journey. It’s easy to feel “other than” in a world that seems to be obsessed with the inclusion of alcohol for every occasion. Having a connection with and talking to people who are traveling the same road is immensely comforting.
To that end – if you’d like information about the BFB, just send me an email and I’ll give you the secret handshake! It’s my very favorite place on the internet.