Spring reminds us every year how life works. For something new to emerge, the old has to die away. Even if we don’t consciously take note of this happening, we get reminded of it annually. For us in the treatment field, there’s a deep metaphor here.
By the time clients or family members pick up the phone to call us, they are usually in the midst of loneliness and desperation that has settled in for a long period of time. It feels like the deepest parts of the winter. But unlike winter, there is typically no sense of when the days will start to brighten and warm up.
In fact, many times, the hope that the days will get better has been stamped out by the disease of addiction. Often, by the time people reach us, they are under the impression that their lives are irrevocably damaged. Even if they think there’s a chance they or their loved one might stop using substances, they often carry a sense around with them that life will never really be good again.
But based on over 45 years of experience, we know that this does not have to be the case. Although pain, grief, and loss are common to those entering recovery and must be encountered and felt, there is an alternate perspective on how we can view these heartaches.
Rather than the end, we can see this period as a painful but potentially life-changing transition, an invitation to something new.
The old way of life, centered around the addiction and all that it entails, is dying away. The former coping mechanisms, systems of denial, and avoidance strategies wear thin. And this process can be painful.
Those previous ways of handling things simply will not work anymore for our clients. This is often true for our clients’ family members as well, who have grown so used to living under the sway of the family disease and codependent patterns it creates.
At times, this transition certainly can feel like dying. It’s difficult to find the words to express the loneliness people with addictions and their families feel as the disease progresses.
These difficult feelings are thoroughly disorienting. The hope of something better can often feel impossible to access. That is where we come into the picture to help in this rebirth process.
Along with clinical expertise, best practices, and individualized treatment plans, we carry the hope that is continually restored and renewed that recovery into a life full of meaning and connection is possible, no matter how impossible it seems.
We carry that vision and hope for our clients and their families until they can carry it for themselves.
We’ve seen it happen countless times. Like the early spring, the sun gradually stays out longer, and the cold begins to melt away. It often sneaks up on our clients and families in quiet moments. They may notice themselves genuinely laugh from their gut or relax their posture, perhaps for the first time in years.
This melting away of the cold continues. All that is required is a posture of honesty, openness, and willingness to try something new.
Before long, life can be completely different for our clients and their families. A passage from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, perhaps, gives the most succinct description of this winter months’ transition into the spring of early recovery.
“Life will take on new meaning. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends – this is an experience you must not miss” (Big Book of AA, page 89).
In time, the genuine connections formed in active recovery create a sense of well-being and community strong enough to drive away even the longest and loneliest winter.
At MARR, we firmly believe that this type of complete recovery is possible for people suffering from addiction and for their family members who are suffering as well. Our Clinical Assessment Team is available for a confidential and free conversation about the next steps you can take to get help for yourself and your loved ones. Call us at (678) 736-8694, or you can reach out via the chat box in the lower right-hand corner of our website.