I have been reading stories of recovery from addiction and eating disorders for a very long time. When I joined the staff at Turning Point of Tampa, part of my job was to find people who wanted to share their story with us. In turn, we share those stories on our website and social media platforms so that others can find the experience, strength and hope they are searching for. There is a certain kind of kinship that people seeking recovery feel with those who have found recovery. I cannot explain it any better than to say that we all just “get” each other. We have walked the same long, treacherous roads and we know the paths lead to nowhere good.
The family members of the people who struggle with addictions are also affected. Family members are often in pain after years of doing everything in their power to help their loved one. Living with the effects of someone else’s addiction is devastating and for most people it is impossible to bear without outside help.
For this series, I interviewed the family members of people who struggled to get sober, people who are sober today, as well as people who have died as a result of their addiction. My hope is that as a family member, you can find that same experience, strength and hope that you are so desperately seeking.
Interview with Lynne K.
AN: What crisis brought you to recovery?
LK: Many over the years. I was the child of an alcoholic father and a gambling addict mother. The life I was brought up in seemed normal….until I got out into the real world. I finally sought recovery when I found out that my then 19 year-old daughter was an addict.
AN: Had you ever heard of a Family Recovery Program before this crisis?
LK: I had heard of Al-Anon through out my life. When my father passed away, It may have been Alateen. I just remember not wanting to go because I was embarrassed.
AN: What have you learned about the importance of family members recovery?
LK: For me, The disease took both of my parents and my daughter. You may ask why I would think the disease took my mother with a gambling addiction? Because of the disease she was always preoccupied with that instead of her health. A health related issue finally took her at the young age of 58 and my father died at 46 from alcoholism. My daughter died at 23. For me the importance is …if they don’t get recovery, they most likely will not survive or if they do it will not be a life we would ever want for them.
AN: 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?
LK: At first yes! However, after I came into the rooms of recovery I realized how much I had contributed and how much support I needed to change my thinking and behavior.
AN: What would you tell family members who are considering their own recovery?
LK: My relationship with my loved one was so damaged because of the addiction and my brutal battle with it for her. I thank God everyday that I was given this gift to repair me and repair my relationship with her. I do not believe I could have survived her death without the gift I accepted of recovery before she died.
AN: Have you experienced any stigma surrounding addiction and recovery?
LK: Sure, mostly from people who have never been touched. There are few that can say that today. I have done a lot of work to bring awareness to the fact that addiction is a disease. With recovery, I have a shield that protects me from the negativity some still have towards addiction.
AN: Is there anything else that you would like to add?
LK: I don’t know what will truly end this epidemic of addiction and overdose. I do know that there is help. I do know that there is recovery for both sides. And I do believe that awareness, openness, and support to its availability will most certainly save lives on both sides. Thank you again for this opportunity. The 9th anniversary of Jamie’s passing is 6/9 (today). She is forever loved and missed. In her honor and to all those lost, I pray this helps someone.