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Melissa’s Story

Addiction Recovery for Families, Early Sobriety, Featured Article, Life Purpose in Recovery | September 30, 2013

Could she? Could Grandma really turn on me like they did?

Thinking about her situations, Melissa dropped her defenses for a moment. She thought about what a  rocky ride she’d had at college…She had arrived with high hopes of pre-med and tumbled down over her first two years, beginning with that party in the frat house.

What was it her girlfriend offered her to try? She still wasn’t quite sure, but it made her feel good and ever since then, she’d been chasing that feeling with everything in her.

But, she hadn’t meant to abandon her dreams. She only meant to feel better, to do better, and that did happen at first…

Often, a loved one is self-medicating or just trying to up their performance when they begin their drug journey. At first, there can be a spike when everything seems better and then, the downward spiral begins…

Tip #12 Don’t assume they will never hear you or that they don’t really get it. Often they do. Focus on listening without having a judgment or retort ready. Simply listen and learn.”

“Mom, dad,” Melissa started, “I really thought the drugs were going to be good for me at first. Freshman year was so hard at first and the pills gave me pep and clarity. But then when that faded, I found myself taking more to try to get my energy back. And at a certain point, when it no longer worked, I couldn’t quit. It was like I had to have the drug to stay awake and function at all. To tell you the truth, I’ve been wanting to quit for a while, but I didn’t know how. And now, even though I want to quit, I’m scared I won’t be able to.”

All Melissa could see was fear.

Tip #13 Encourage every positive indication you observe or hear. Let go of your fears of the other shoe dropping and put yourself in your loved one’s shoes. Stay in the moment and remember: their journey is about them, NOT about you!”

Millie spoke first determined not to let her fear muddy the waters of her response.

“Melissa,” she said, “I’m so happy to hear you say that. It sounds like you do want to get well and get your dreams back on track.”

“I do mom, but I have no idea how.”

At this point when meeting with a family and their loved one, we start to talk about the plan, how to make it happen and what kinds of supports we’ll put into place. This kind of support can help your family. I’ll talk about this more when I write about what happened next with Melissa.

By the time a family and their loved one get together to discuss what happened and the loved one admits to being in too deep, we have already helped the family put a plan in place of best next steps for their loved one and often we have partnered with other professionals to begin exploring  a long-term recovery case management proposal.

The old thinking, that 28 days in treatment is all that is needed to help a recovering person sustain their recovery, is just that, old and outdated.  Brain research shows it takes 6 to 12 weeks for a brain to detoxify.  Today, we work with a team of professionals whose job it is to insure that there are options to help the loved one face their new reality until they strongly own it and can sustain it with their own supports in place, a process that can take 6 months to a year or more.

But all of this takes time and lots of work together. That’s what we coordinate and do. At Family Recovery Resources, we educate families, coach them, and hook them up with the people who can help their loved ones turn the page on a new life.

For Melissa and her family, this was beginning to seem possible. But then, it happened…

You may have missed parts of Millie’s story. If you’d like to read more about Millie, her family members and the techniques I mentioned earlier, you can go to the upper right hand side of this page and add your best email address to receive a free guide to being in relationship with a loved one who is dealing with addiction. It tells you a bit more about “Being a Loving Mirror”. You’ll also be able to follow stories like Millie’s through regular emails delivered to your inbox.

One more thing… Do you know a Millie, a Salllie, a Tom, or a Melissa? Share these stories with them.