The Positive Reasons for Supporting Recovery as a Family

This past weekend we packed up our minivan, and drove out to Beltsville, MD, with our two boys and our preteen daughter to attend Nick’s Place 15 Year Anniversary Celebration. On our way to the celebrations, the kids had many questions about this event, and although we often include them in family recovery events, I found myself struggling to answer these questions appropriately.

NickCake

You see, Nick’s Place* was started by two loving parents who had lost their young son to the disease of addiction. Nick’s life ended abruptly in 1997 as he struggled with his addiction from his early teen years, until his death at age 22. His biggest complaint through his difficult time was that there was no one his age who was trying to get clean and sober. His parents Rhea and Barry opened Nick’s Place in his memory to help other young men struggling with addiction, to recover and sustain happy and productive lives.

The celebration party included carnival games, burgers, hot dogs, and sweet treats. Our dear friend and a counselor at the house, Jo Black Sullivan, also created a touching presentation that covered the history of Nick’s Place. The presentation ended with a very moving and tear filled speech by Rhea, Nick’s mom.

During the presentation, I found myself worried about how my kids will take in this information. My preteen daughter is aware of what addiction is because I have talked to her about mine. However, I have not talked to my boys, well, because I felt that they may still be just too young.

After the presentation, my son, and another boy about the same age, admired the beautiful birthday cake with Nick’s face on it. My son asked the boy if he knew whose face was on the cake, and the boy answered, “It’s Nick, but he is dead.” My son was puzzled and looked up at me for anwsers. Oh goodness, what do I say now?

I pulled him to the side and told him that we are celebrating Nick’s life but unfortunately, Nick has passed away. He had a disease called addiction, and was not able to get the right kind of help and treatment, and he died. I told him further, that we were here to help other families and their kids find the right treatment for this disease. My son nodded his head, and said, “Ok, I understand now.”

And that was that. All my fears for that moment dissipated. And whether my son understood it or not, I felt that the seed was planted. That is always our hope, that by talking about addiction we plant the seeds of recovery, so that if, and when the kids find themselves in the throes of addiction they will know that they are not alone, and that they will know where to go, and who to turn to for help.

SoberCourage

Most of all, the hope is that they know what addiction can do to their lives, and how recovery can change all of that, because chances are that they will develop an addiction too – and a huge chance at that, a 50/50, coming from both parents. This is an enormous fear of mine! It cripples my mind to no end and keeps me up at night.

I know that it is hard to talk about addiction and even recovery with our kids! There are many fears that we may harbor from our own experiences and fears. We as parents want to be adored by our kids as much as we adore them! However, kids are growing up way faster than we imagine and sometimes we need to put those fears aside and do what will benefit them the most.

I am still so very overwhelmed by this experience. I am truly amazed that these two wonderful parents turned their pain and loss into so much good and love. No parent should ever have to lose a child, but unfortunately, it happens and it happens way too often!

So, I am trying to be diligent in giving them all the information possible, even though I often feel like I cannot find the right words. Strangely enough, sometimes the right words, in the right situations, just flow right out.

  • Nick’s Place is a one of a kind, community funded and affordable recovery house for young men 20-26 years of age. For more information, please visit their site at http://www.nicksplace.org

If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with alcohol addiction, please click the Find Support link for an extensive list of support groups. Also please check out the links to many useful resources in the sidebar, and always feel free to contact me anytime at sobercourage@gmail.com.

You may also find some great inspiration and support from all the awesome sober bloggers listed in the side bar under POSTS I LIKE and RECOVERY BLOGGERS, as well as Sober Courage page on Facebook and Sober Courage on Twitter.

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. Lisa Neumann says:

    Incredible post. I love this dialogue with the kids on all-things-addiction. Sadly, my kids have known friends of mine that have passed on and it is always such a strange realization that “just last week that person was here talking with mom and now they are gone. Why/”

    We’ve had many conversations over the years. I’m not sure all of what they’ve understood, but one thing is certain … addiction is deadly at it’s pinnacle and horrible at it’s best.

    What great inspiration these parents give. I’m going to go check out their site. much love, Lisa ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lisa! I agree. these parents are total inspiration! I don’t even and cant even think about what I would do if I lost any of my kids. So to be able to turn such a painful event into something so powerful is indeed inspiring!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ainsobriety says:

    We are open with our kids, who are 10 and 12.
    I don’t worry about their future, although both hubby and I are sober and I have struggled with some serious mental health issues that I can see in my son.
    There are just too many things that could change between now and then. The future will deal with itself. And I know, after years of anxiety and worry, that it won’t turn out like I imagine. So I have stopped imagining!

    That is a beautiful memorial for a son. I expect they help many.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right, I think that, that is all we can do, give them the knowledge and information. The rest we just can’t control whatsoever! So, I try not to obsess and stuff too, just once in a while I still get scared.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Anonymous says:

    thank you Magz

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sherry says:

    Magz – I’m from PG County (and those of us from PG County can still call it PG County) so I will definitely be looking into this more and seeing how I can help. I’ve been open with my boys from an early age since their grandfather and their aunt were and are addicts. Now that they’re grown all I can do is pray.

    Great post.
    Sherry

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awesome! I wouldn’t know that this was in PG county! HEHE!
      I hope you do check it out, they are really good bunch of people!

      And sometimes I remind myself that my kids have their own guardian angels looking out for them… and I feel at peace…

      Thanks Sherry!

      Like

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