The ‘in’ we have as loved ones in the fight against addiction is that our written words matter for those in active addiction. Addiction is an illness that tricks the mind, telling the person they’re not sick, while actually killing them. The paranoia that comes with addiction forces the addicted mind to race, trust no one and forget verbal information, feeding the lies of addiction as truth. When our son became addicted in college, my husband and I watched addiction build a wall around him and suck him into a dark hole. For every brick we tried to tear down, ten bricks went up. We knew we needed to reach our son in his inner person because we came to the realization that he was the only person who could tear down the wall of his addiction.
Sick or not, our minds are like computers, taking in and storing information. As parents, we had one thing addiction didn’t have with our son- a history. We knew that as parents, our son knew our voice and if we weren’t telling him that addiction wasn’t who he was, who would? It wasn’t his drug dealer.
We realized the importance and power of our voice in writing with our son when, more times than I care to admit, we would go to clean out an apartment when our son went to a rehab or when he got kicked out of somewhere he was living. Without fail, there would be a plastic tote box filled with paperwork- unopened collection notices, single pages of bank statements, drawings, notes our son had taken in effort to organize himself- and cards from friends, family members, and from Mark and me. There were cards from when he graduated high school, cards from friends and family when he’d been in different rehabs, cards of encouragement and Christmas cards.
We realized that through those cards and letters, our son, the young man we’d raised, was alive! Consumed by addiction, yes, but he knew truth at his core. Those cards from true friends and family members were a lifeline he was holding onto. We came to realize not only our son, but for others in active addiction as well, that cards and letters are a connection to the life, community and relationships that they know exist, and they desperately want- the written voices of friends and family are a true reminder that addiction is not who they are.
Our words spoken to the person- not the addiction, matter. Cards written in our handwriting- bad or good (mine is half cursive, half print), slanted down the page, with bad grammar and punctuation and our verbiage that our loved one ‘gets’ because that’s how we talk to them- our written words are their proof in writing to them that addiction is not who they are.
I started Shop Recovery Stuff when I designed a card to send to my son in rehab. Today, I’m sending a card to a young man who is just starting his Recovery journey. He’s in rehab for a first time. I’ve never met him, but I’ve met his mom over the phone when she reached out for help and support. I’m telling him my story of how Recovery changed my life course and that I’m sure Recovery can do the same for him. Making a difference often starts with a word of encouragement that enables the person to begin to see themselves in the light of Recovery instead of the dark of addiction. A simple card in the mail has the power to do just that. Recovery is Real.
Recover Out Loud Cup & Recovery Found Card sold separately.