I own a business that supports the Recovery lifestyle. With that, I see lots of social media around Recovery. A current challenge trend is to share a ‘before’ and ‘after’ photo- a photo during active addiction and a photo in active Recovery. The changes are nothing less than amazing- an undeniable, amazing testament to the power of Recovery. I’m deeply moved to see the joy and thankfulness that seem to literally be exploding in each ‘after’ photo. As a family member of a person with SUD (Substance Use Disorder), there have even been times I felt proud of the person and congratulated them along with the many others who congratulate and support the person sharing.
Seeing all the photos, I couldn’t help but think, “What about the families and loved ones? What do their before and after photos look like?” So, I gathered my own. Someone looking at the collage of my photos wouldn’t be able to see when my husband and I were getting a beat-down from active addiction or when active Recovery was in play- but I could. I could say with every picture. No one could tell when my husband and I were exercising our Recovery as family members or whether we were caught in the crossfire of the chaos of addiction.
Why am I sharing this? To reach families- to encourage them to reach out to other families for support. There are still many families and loved ones of persons with AUD/SUD (Alcohol Use Disorder/Substance Use Disorder) who don’t think addiction is affecting them as they suffer alone. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be buildings big enough to hold the families coming together to support one another. I’m sharing a collage of my family’s photos to share that just because the contrast of addiction and recovery doesn’t always show in pictures- the ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures can look the same for families who are affected by addiction- that doesn’t mean families aren’t affected or don’t need help and support to maneuver through the waters of addiction and our own Recovery.
Even though life goes on despite addiction, families are hurting. Their pictures, just like mine, show the complexity of finding peace amidst the storm and chaos of addiction; finding a smile despite missing the sharing of milestone life events, family events, weddings, concerts, movie openings, holidays or just a day at home with their loved one; dealing with the chaos of the symptoms of addiction that requires a well-rounded village of support.
If you are a family member and need support, please reach out! Groups are growing- there are now even family groups to watch via Facebook live! If you don’t have a support group in your area, start one. Take a flyer to the fire station, police department and the schools inviting other families to come together to watch a family group online and go from there. Start by offering the opportunity to help another family stop suffering alone. The most wonderful phenomenon I get to see in the Recovery arena is to watch people in Recovery reach out for help and reach out to help one another. Addiction and its effects breed in isolation. Recovery breeds in community. The supportive bond that’s instantaneously made from traveling the same road is one of the most powerful Recovery tools our loved ones with addiction have to get in and stay in Recovery. It is the same for families and loved ones. #WeRecoverTogether