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Recovery is Work. Have a Good Support System

Recovery, especially in the first few years, is work. You will only get out what you put in. I will share this and I’ll share it for those who struggle with addiction. When you stop the use of drugs and alcohol the only thing that gets better are the problems related to the use of drugs and alcohol. Everything else that you experienced prior to ever picking up a drink or drug, everything you are experiencing, and everything you will experience, will not go away because you stop using drugs and alcohol. If anything it comes in and just overwhelms you and floods you and makes it even harder to process and handle at first. If you’re a family member and your loved ones stop using drugs and alcohol and you think everything’s going to be okay, no it’s not. Don’t lie to yourself – the only thing that’s going to be okay now are the problems related to their drug and alcohol use are going to go away. Everything else about your inability to communicate with them, with your lack of trust to them, with your fear of their relapse, with your financial frustrations of supporting someone when you’re barely able to support yourself, none of that stuff goes away. If anything, it just starts to surface itself. So I don’t want anyone here to be under the wrong impression that when you stop using drugs and alcohol everything gets better. You want to know when it gets better? When you get better. If you want your life to change then you have to change. Straight up changing the use of substances or stopping uses that’s absolutely a positive change, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not the end-all be-all.

The Power of Choice

Let’s see what Jess said. “That’s very similar to my upbringing being around constant cigarette smoke from my family and my two siblings became smokers. I never touched a single one because of always hating to be around it.” Yeah that’s really it. Then there could be someone that in your situation Jess would say, “I started smoking at the age of 13 because it felt so normal to me because everyone around me was doing it. So I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong.” So that’s the individuality that I’m talking about, that’s the power of choice that sometimes we think we don’t have. The only time you can actually see things and resolve them is when you can see them clearly. Not behind goggles. And you’re able to see them and you’re like, alright I have to deal with this right now because if I don’t, if I just sweep it under the rug, what’s gonna happen? The smell is going to come out sooner or later.

Understand the Value of Support Systems

Here’s why it is important to understand the value of support systems. Early stages of recovery are scary. Early stages of recovery are, let’s use a metaphor. It’s dark, it’s unfamiliar, it’s unsettling, the fear of the unknown. What do support systems do? They create light in the midst of that darkness. Support systems guide us through the fear of that initial unknown. These support systems give us a sense of identification that makes us feel that even though nothing is okay that everything could be okay if I just stick around this little support system. When you are doing something new for the first time and you have no idea how to do it that’s when a support system comes in and breathes air into the lungs that are just hyperventilating and scared. None of us, including myself, have gotten to where we get to in the recovery process without support systems. Now these support systems can be family, they could be genuinely family members, moms, dads, siblings, spouses, grandparents, friends, upbringing that kind of stuff, but if you’re like “I don’t have a healthy one of those so I’m screwed,” no you’re not. Our family of origin doesn’t necessarily have to be our family of choice. If you come from a dysfunctional background with a lot of toxicity and addictions and mental illness and in chaos and abandonment and all that kind of stuff, and you’re like, “well, I don’t have a healthy family so I have no support system,” you can’t believe that narrative. Your family of origin may have put you in a disadvantage but you’re an adult.

Create a Family of Choice

They might not have the same biological characteristics or they might not share the same last names but a family of choice can still be family. And then support system can also be non-family members, people we meet in support groups, people we meet in the community, some of the closest human beings you’ll ever meet in your life have nothing to do with your family and that’s what we have to embrace. And if you can’t find them in traditional places 12-step meetings or support groups or church, maybe you find some in working out in a gym, maybe you find some in a book club, in a hiking club, whatever it is maybe you just find support for yourself because I’m telling you this my friends, as something who watched firsthand. It happened to me and my family. 

Two months ago on this exact date, April 10, 2023 was when my brother passed away. Today is June 10, 2023. I’m still here, my mom is still here, my dad is still here. You want to know why we’re all still here? Because of support systems, because of support systems. And we really really really need that. And here I mean I’m telling you, when someone like Jim says finding a new support system saved my life, he is talking literally. Because of the lifestyle that he had at the time, homeless, just living like a street creature, no offense to him. I know you’re okay with me saying those things. He needed that support system save his life because what he was doing was life and death. But what about this? Sometimes there’s family members that come in for the addiction of a loved one. Their life and death is not in jeopardy because they’re not the one using the substances but they’re in an existential crisis – they’re going through life and death inside their mind with their loved one and they need the same support system to be able to save their lives, to save their sanity.

When I find recovery and I do for 15 years, their worlds are by association also improving. To the point that where this tragedy hit close to our home a little bit ago I was able to suit up and show up despite of my own experience for others and to be able to help heal and work through all this stuff together. I never thought that was going to happen when I started this journey but those are the kind of the gifts of recovery.

Support System is a Big Family

Hussein said, “With support system I feel we are all a big family going through this lifetime journey and gives me so much hope and strength.” Yeah, because when we go through it originally it’s very lonely for us. His family for example, they probably thought that they’re the only people going through this, they thought they’re the only people going through this, and who do you talk to? You can’t talk to your actual family about it because there’s shame involved and then all of a sudden you meet other families, moms and dads, and they’re sharing very similar stories, and it allows us to get that strength to work through this. “Family of origin that is chaotic can lead us to clarity of what we do not want to do, not only for ourselves but also when we have our children and grandchildren.” 

I mean everybody’s a teacher. Some people teach us what to do and some people teach us what not to do. There’s a very good analogy that I heard somewhere that I’ll share with you. I think it’s pretty cool. So there were two identical brothers, two brothers, twin brothers we’ll call them. And they both had an alcoholic father. One of the brothers became an alcoholic and one of them never drank a sip of alcohol. When they asked the brothers, so they asked the alcoholic, “hey why are you an alcoholic?” and he said, “I watched my father.” And they asked the other brother who never drank a sip of alcohol, “why did you never sip a drink of alcohol?” He said, “because I watched my father.” See, two versions from the same story. Oftentimes people that are chaotic or toxic or abusive or this and that they might not teach us what to do but they sure as heck teach us what not to do and that becomes a choice. So as Eileen said here it allowed her to be able to, when we have children and grandchildren, to be able to raise them differently. Either you do it or you don’t. If you do, you break multi-generational patterns of chaos and dysfunction and if you don’t unfortunately my friends history will repeat itself. I hope that’s not the case for most of you. I hope you’re able to break those patterns.

Call Buckeye Recovery Today!

Are you in recovery but not making progress? Recovery is not only possible but attainable, and it all begins with reaching out for assistance. By addressing both addiction and mental health issues, individuals can break free from the cycle of despair and embark on a path to a healthier, more fulfilling life. Contact Buckeye Recovery Network today and initiate your journey to recovery and improved mental health. Our dedicated team of professionals is here to guide and support you every step of the way.

Today is going to be the best day of your life.

Kelsey Gearhart

Director of Business Development

Kelsey carries multiple years of experience working in the substance abuse and mental health treatment field. Her passion for this field comes from her personally knowing recovery from addiction.

Prior to Buckeye she held titles of Recovery Coach, Operations Director, and Admissions Director. Kelsey was brought on at Buckeye Recovery as the Director of Business Development. She has a passion for ensuring every individual gets the help that they need, and does so by developing relationships with other providers.

Kelsey also oversees our women’s sober living environments – The Chadwick House for Women. She is committed to creating a safe, nurturing, and conducive environment for all women that walk through the doors of Chadwick.