By Shanna McClure
I am a passionate advocate for recovery and education. Education is one of the most powerful tools we can have. The more we learn the more we grow.
I absolutely love watching people find themselves and love themselves again. By this, I mean both those in Recovery AND family and friends.
I consider myself an incredibly empathetic person, so when I see someone hurt...I hurt with them. But when I see them grow and blossom, I am over the moon happy. Seeing a family heal is the best feeling.
I spent many years watching someone I love battle addiction and substance abuse. He had an absolute heart of gold, knew exactly what to say when I needed it, and gave the very best hugs!
I can’t pinpoint when exactly I became addicted to being his rescuer and protector but I did. Once he found long term recovery, I adopted the identity of being his biggest cheerleader. I never took time to attend any meetings, learn anything about step work, or learn what warning signs of relapse were. The life had returned to his eyes and life was good. Until it wasn’t.
Even though I had expected the call for years, I was in shock...he was gone. How did I fail him? Where did I go wrong? Why didn’t he call?
I couldn’t understand because it had been so good! Maybe it was the unhealthy relationship I was in at time? Maybe it was untreated anxiety and depression? Maybe all of above. But I lost my identity and became overwhelmed with guilt and feeling of failure.
On the one year anniversary of his death, I spoke to a class at Recovery Point. It was not my finest hour but an experience that changed my life forever.
These random strangers listened to me ramble, hugged me to death, and genuinely wanted to help me. Here was a group of guys that didn’t know me and didn’t owe me a thing, but they opened their hearts, tried to teach me, and started me on my own recovery journey.
And It has been a beautiful experience.
I have met some of my closest friends and mentors. These are the people who when I call or text and say I need help, they say “what can I do?” and they mean it.
I have also met an amazing man who I am now in a very happy and healthy relationship with. I wish I had learned a long time ago that addiction doesn’t just impact the one using. It is a family disease, therefore the entire family needs recovery.
As a family member or friend you must find recovery for YOU. You owe it to yourself.
Just because you aren’t the one battling addiction doesn’t mean you aren’t suffering. Don’t hide behind a loved one’s addiction and don’t hesitate to reach out for help.
You are not alone. You are #morethanaddiction.