Recovery Bytes

Family Interview with Donna C

Family Interview with Donna C | Turning Point of Tampa

What crisis brought you to recovery? It was a few years of one crisis after another after my son turned 18. He actually went for 30-day inpatient treatment at Turning Point when he was in his early 20s, which of course I pushed for and paid for. I remember going to a group family counseling meeting while he was there and the counselor called me out and told me I was too enmeshed is his life and that I should consider going to a Nar-Anon meeting. I was so angry and indignant. I said out loud, “I don’t have the problem, he does and how dare she tell me I needed help.” Less than a year later, after my marriage was on the verge of a divorce, and my son stole another piece of jewelry of mine and then lied to my face again, and I had a total mental breakdown, I finally found a Nar-Anon meeting. My first Nar-Anon meeting was the first Monday after Thanksgiving in 2008.

Had you ever heard of Al-anon or Nar-anon before this crisis? Yes, but my thinking at the time was that I didn’t need any help.

What have you learned about the importance of family members recovery? I have learned that I had a part to play in the family disfunction. I was the one pulling all the strings and was just as dishonest and manipulative as the addict. I have learned that the changes I was searching for in others needed to come from me. Once I took a good look at my co-dependent and enabling behaviors, I became aware of how my character defects affected the whole dynamic of the family. Nar-Anon saved my marriage and helped me to put the focus back on myself, my marriage, and my younger son who has special needs and needs a lot of attention.

Does the recovery program that you are a member of have online meetings during COVID19? Yes, many.

Did you have any reluctance in accepting your need for your personal recovery? Meaning, did you ever have thoughts of “I don’t have a problem so why do I am I the one who needs help? As I stated above, yes. However, once I hit my bottom, I was willing to do whatever it took to help myself feel whole again.

What would you tell family members who are considering their own recovery? Be gentle with yourself, but do it. I learned that I did the best I could with what I knew at the time. It can be difficult at times to truly look at ourselves for who we really are, but the payoff is worth it. I use my program every single day now dealing with all people, places and things. If I have any regrets, it’s that I didn’t start my recovery journey sooner. I have the best relationship now with the addict in my life that qualified me for Nar-Anon 13 years ago. I have other active addicts in my life now and I’m so grateful I have my recovery program to fall back on.

Have you experienced any stigma surrounding addiction and recovery? I think there is still a lot of stigma surrounding addiction, but I don’t think there is a stigma regarding recovery. Most people, whether they are in a recovery program or not, have heard many of the slogans and can relate to them. Most people probably know someone who is in recovery.

Is there anything else that you would like to add? I will be celebrating my 13th year in recovery on November 29th and I’m a very grateful member of Nar-Anon. I am on a mission to carry the message and grow not only Nar-Anon, but Narateen as well. I have seen the devastation that addiction has on the child(ren) living with an addict (usually a parent), and I have committed myself to facilitating a virtual Narateen meeting every Wednesday night on Zoom with another facilitator. For more information about Narateen, I can be reached at . Thank you for the opportunity to share my story.