Stories from recovering addicts show more people care than you might think
By Cecelia Johnson
“They knew me and they knew that despite the drugs, I’m a good person.”
Christy, a recovering addict, who recently graduated from Addiction Campuses’ Mississippi facility, Turning Point Recovery, said this of the people who supported her as she made efforts to turn her life around.
Are you currently fighting addiction? Don’t lose hope! Because, after all, it turns out that there really are more people who care about you than you think.
Read more addiction recovery stories in this article. Then, join us with your questions in the section at the bottom of the page. We try to provide personal and prompt answers to all legitimate inquiries.
Communities support addicts: Christy’s story
It’s not uncommon for an addict to assume that nobody cares about them anymore. People get hurt and relationships are strained when people become addicted to drugs or alcohol. It certainly is hard to reconnect with people in many cases. That said, after speaking to a number of recovering addicts, I learned that a lot of them are surprised to find that people do still care.
Christy got to the point where her children were going to be taken away from her by the state, which almost certainly comes with plenty of judgment and ill feelings from friends and relatives. Still, she found an unexpected amount of sympathy and understanding.
“It was amazing how everybody came together to help out even though I put us in this situation. It was just heart warming,” she told me. “All these people said, ‘We’re not just going to stay back while your kids get taken away from you.’ They came and helped fix the house. Someone gave us a new air conditioner. There were all kinds of things wrong in our house — the yard was terrible. We knew a man with a construction crew, and he sent his guys out with tractors, so people came out and worked all day long one day. He paid his own employees to come and fix up our land… It was just amazing how people came together… I was so humbled. I thought, ‘Look at what I have done, and look at what these people are doing for my kids.’”
She said that she would share this story with other people struggling with addiction who think that nobody will understand or care about them.
Other people can really relate
“It wasn’t just one person — it was several people. My parents really wouldn’t babysit that much, but they kept my kids out of foster care. People came from everywhere! People that I wouldn’t normally think would be there.”
“You don’t realize it; you don’t think about it,” she said. “You just think that you’re so bad, what you’ve done is just so horrible, but there are still people that care. You don’t realize that other people really can relate. You don’t think that. You don’t know that. But there are a lot of people out there who do understand. You’re not the only horrible person in the world — you’re not!”
Telling your family you are going to rehab: Jeff’s story
Jeff, another recovering addict, told me that it took some time to tell everyone about his addiction when he was ready to go to rehab. He feared the worst, but was surprised by the reaction he received from his family.
“I didn’t tell my parents until the day before I left,” he recalled. “I was so full of shame and guilt. I thought they would hate me and disown me, that I was going to let everyone down. I started by telling my sister because we’re very close. She said, ‘I’m here for you and I want to see you get better.’”
“Then I went to my brother, who is 13 years older than I am. The way I looked at it, he was perfection. I looked up to him then, and I look up to him now. I called him and told him, and his response still chokes me up. He said, ‘I care about you and I want you to get better. If you need anything, I’m here for you. I will always be here for you.’”
“My mom kind of knew what was going on. My dad was the hard one. He’s a hardass, and we never really saw eye to eye. But the amount of support I got from him blew me away. He said he was proud of me when I decided to take that step. That was one thing I had always wanted to hear from him, but hadn’t heard very often.
“It’s crazy how your mind can really mess with you. You start feeding that addiction and it can contort everything that doesn’t involve getting high into something negative. ‘You’re not going to be welcome anymore. You’re a piece of trash. Just keep doing what you’re doing — keep feeding me, feeding me, feeding me!’ But when you finally take that leap of faith, that addiction will be proven wrong. I was sure I wasn’t going to get any support, but the complete opposite happened — I got a lot of support and a lot of love.”
Addicts-to-addicts support and care: Sally’s story
Sally, who has been sober for over a year, told me that simply realizing that she needed to get help was meaningful in itself, but that the support of other people meant a lot.
“One of the things in rehab they’ll tell you is that you’re not here to make friends — but you kind of are,” she insisted. “I made a best friend there and we’ve been best friends for a year now. You need that contact, because that’s going to be your source to pick up instead of a substance.
“It’s support in all different ways, whether it’s someone listening to you about things you’ve never gotten off your chest, or support after a rough day and you can just laugh together. You have to have it all when you’re going through it. If nobody cared, we’d all be screwed.”
And that’s just it.
There are people who care no matter if you believe it to be true or not. Even if you can’t get through to your friends and family, so many have found the support they needed right in rehab. If you look hard enough, you will find someone who cares — guaranteed.
I’ll leave you with these final words of wisdom from Sally: “If you’re honest with everybody, it’s not so bad — more people will understand than won’t. A lot more people understand addiction than we realize.”
Addiction recovery and support questions
Are you or someone close to you going through addiction, entering treatment, or in early recovery? We hope these stories can help you feel less alone!
If you have any questions, or would like to share your own personal experience with others, feel free to share them in the comments section below. We tr to answer all legitimate questions personally and promptly. In case we don’t know the answer to your question, we’ll gladly refer you to professionals who can help.
About the author: Cecelia Johnson one of the creators of Recognition Works . Our mission is to connect local organizations with companies in order to celebrate their community members’ remarkable accomplishments. We’ve noticed a really wonderful trend recently: people are constantly seeking opportunities to recognize recovering addicts for the amazing steps they’ve taken to better their lives. So we decided to honor these brave fighters in a truly unique way by interviewing people who are at various stages of their sobriety journeys and sharing their stories with others.
Photo credit: 123Stella