In 2019 I completed the Recovery Coach Academy in Massachusetts. Although I do not meet the criteria to become a Certified Recovery Coach I do strive to gain as much knowledge and skill as possible in order to help the people that I serve. Out of all the valuable info that I learned during that training one important phrase stood out the most. Our instructor instilled in us that in order to “talk the talk” one needed to “walk the walk”. I heard him when he said it but I don’t think I was truly listening to the wisdom of it all.
The phrase “talk the talk and walk the walk” repeated itself over and over in my mind for several months. I knew how to talk the talk but was I actually “walking the walk”? I didn’t really think so. I still drank. I got to the point that anytime that I drank the phrase would pop into my head and I knew that I was not “walking the walk”. I was not a heavy drinker for the most part but I did use alcohol as a way of coping with things. Looking back at it I think that I drank every time a crisis occurred. I drank pretty much every day for a year after my son Josh was killed.
I told myself that since I didn’t drink all the time and since I only drank beer and never hard liquor that alcohol was not affecting my life. But I knew this was not true. After a night of throwing back 4 or 5 beers (It never took much) I would wake up at 2am, hating myself and vowing to quit. Even on nights when I only drank 1 or 2 beers I felt guilty. Guilty because I was promoting recovery but I did not believe that I was not in recovery.
So, this is what I did: on November 31 I quit drinking. It actually wasn’t hard for me at all. I was surprisingly relieved to stop drinking. I did not go through any type of treatment as I did not have any withdrawal. What I did have was a free conscious and no more hangovers or feelings of guilt. I am now clear headed, setting a better example to the young people in my life, living a heathier lifestyle, and most of all I now feel that I am living my life to its potential rather than just existing.
I am now “talking the talk” and “walking the walk” and that is priceless.
We have all heard it, "addiction is a family disease" but have we really thought about what this means for us and for our loved ones?
Having a loved one in active addiction is TRAUMATIC to say the least. Watching someone we know and love as they lose themselves is devastating. It is hard to remember and to realize the person that they used to be before drugs took them away from us. Does that person even exist anymore? Is there any way to get him or her back to a place that even closely resembles the person that they used to be? What if they never want to get better?
I do not know the answers to most of these questions except that I know that I must face the realization of one of them. What if my loved one never desires to get better? Is there not one more chance at recovery in her? I don't know but I do know that if she never gets better I need to learn to accept that and live with it.
This will not be an easy task, the sleepless nights of worrying, the stress that kicks in when she doesn't call to check in. The inability to function normally as I relive the moment when in the past police came to my house to tell me of my son’s death and I convince myself they are coming again to inform me of another death (realistically, they will probably just call me). The searching of news on the internet whenever I cannot not locate her, the wondering if they fingerprint her in a morgue will they figure out who she is and call me?
This craziness is reality, not just mine but that of most people who are trying to cope with a loved one in active addiction. What do we do to alleviate this madness? My advice is that we accept what we cannot change and hope for a better future. We learn all that we can about the addicted brain and understand that the recovery of our loved one is out of our hands. We pray to god (if we are praying people) and hope that someday our loved one will stumble upon recovery and that it will take lasting hold on them. What do we do in the meantime? We RECOVER. We stop our existence of dreading that each day may be our loved one’s last and we start living our lives as if it could be our last. We take time for self-care and to enjoy our lives to the best of our ability.
It sounds like a good plan to me.
Recently I was told that I needed someone on my team that would not approve every application submitted for assistance. I was told that I should be choosing clients that had higher chance of recovery. I was told that I was too nice because I want to help every single person that reaches out to me.
My respond; of course I want to help every single person that reaches out! I do not care if it is his or her first time trying to get clean or if it is the 99th attempt at recovery. In my book and in the JBC2SAL organization, everyone is worthy of a chance. Whom am I (or anyone else for that matter) to judge who will recover and who won't. That decision is totally up to the person looking for help. Please don't try to tell me otherwise!