Today is a great day in our family. Today we celebrate recovery - two years of sobriety for my daughter. I am so grateful for this incredible blessing that our family has received.
For most of my life, a celebration of almost anything included drinking alcohol. Weddings, anniversaries, graduations ... we were like many families and thought a party without alcoholic drinks was a dull party. Life now, and our thinking now, is very different. Now, we wouldn't think for a second of using alcohol to celebrate.
What brought about this change? A lot of time, pain, hard work, and help from wonderful people. But mainly, the strength and determination of my extraordinary daughter, Rae.
When I think back to this moment two years ago, it is still painful and scary to consider. Two years ago, I knew for the first time that my beautiful baby girl had a serious drug problem. Two years ago, I endured a week-end of terror and a morning filled with the greatest fear I had ever known as Rae's brush with death was much too close to even comprehend.
Then the long sleepless nights and worried days while my daughter, who had always hated being away from home, stayed alone at the drug rehab center. Never in my life had I felt so powerless. I wanted to be beside her and comfort her and support her and share her agony, but that was not how the system works, I was told. That was very hard to swallow.
Days turned to weeks and weeks to months as Rae moved from rehab to a sober living house. Fear didn't go away, but my admiration and optimism grew as she made the decision on her own to go to the sober living residence inside of returning straight home. The seed to change her life had been planted and she did everything she could to nurture it.
Fast forward two years and the pain has been replaced with even more admiration and pride as we celebrate recovery. A few credits away from receiving her degree in Psychology, honored with an Unsung Hero Award from the Caron Foundation, studying for the LSATs and applying to a double degree program in law and social work, Rae continues to amaze me. Above all, she so impresses me with her warmth, maturity, skill at handling a flourishing marriage at the same time as her studies and work, and just all around goodness and forgiveness.
We had some very rocky times and I thought I lost her on more than one occasion in more than one way. But now we share Zumba, vacations, books, love, many laughs, and so much more. Today is indeed quite a day to celebrate recovery.
How have we celebrated it? A walk on the beach, a home-cooked meal, a short swim, laughter, love and just plain wonderful family time. Sound boring? Not to me! I stopped drinking two years ago also just in support of Rae's recovery and I have discovered along with her how life's experiences can be so much richer when you're not seeing them through the haze of alcohol or drugs.
As always, if you or a family member are struggling with addiction, keep fighting. Keep supporting your loved ones. There definitely can be a light at the end of the tunnel and it is SO worth the journey. And if you or a loved one has one day or one month or one year of sobriety behind you, celebrate recovery. Every step is worth a celebration.