I’m not sure what it’s like in your world, but in my world I’ve got two families. I have the family that I was born into, blessed to be the little sister, the daughter, the Aunt… Then I have the family that was built around me, for me, by my higher power. To say that I am beyond blessed is an understatement. I look at the world around me and I cannot fathom how I got here. Often, I am reminded by God’s subtle gifts, that it was by his will and on the prayers of those in my life.
Recently, I have sat in great reflection about the gift I have been given. I have squandered many years drunk and high. Similarly, I have squandered a great many of the last 810 days clean and sober. So, I sat here thinking, what can I do to move forward? It starts here… with a letter to my families. In a creepy way, it sounds like a goodbye… it’s not. Trust me. It’s a hello… to this world of recovery and to this world before us.
To my beautiful mother… Words cannot describe how I look to you for love, guidance and acceptance. And I receive it every time I seek, and even when I don’t. For nearly 32 years you have been a solid foundation in not only my life, but in every life that you have been able to be a part of. I can remember as a little girl looking at you and admiring your strength. You’ve endured more in this lifetime than I can image and you’ve been there to pick up the pieces as I fell. When my best friend died, you laid with me for three nights and let me cry myself to sleep with your arms around me. You never questioned my love for him and you stood with me while I mourned such a significant loss. You have been my best friend for my entire life and although I didn’t always show it, I knew in my heart you would always be there. When I began walking this journey of recovery, you gave me tough love. You had a faith in me that I could not see. You believed in me when I was so weak that I could not breathe a sober breath.
Good ol’ dad… I could easily replicate what I write in regards to Mom, but there is more to be said. You let us kick you out of your own bed when I needed to be cared for in ways I didn’t know. You too, have been a solid foundation. I watched you work hard and play harder which gave me a great love for this life we’ve been given. I have grown to understand by watching you, what a man should be and how a woman should be treated. I’ve watched you suffer loss and gain strength. Again, when I started walking this journey of recovery, you held my hand, you asked questions and you provided me with guidance and patience. Tough love was hard for you, and I saw the pain in your eyes as I fell time and time again. But you and Mom were the first ones to pick me up and guide me in faith that it would be ok.
My brothers… my friends. My greatest memory? Knowing that you two were going to pick on me, yell at me for messing with your stuff, and tell me to leave you alone when your friends were over… I also knew that if anyone else did those things to me, you would be the first ones to “take care of it”. The conversations we have had over the years about life, love and everything in between helped shape me into the woman I am. When I know that there is a problem, I know I can come to you. I watch your families grow and I see how you teach your children. I admire your guidance with them. When I was at my lowest points in addiction, and we didn’t talk, my heart broke everyday… but I was so damn proud. You learned how to build a boundary and protect yourself and your families from the wreckage that I brought with me. I knew, and I was right, that when the time came for me to come back home and begin working toward a new life, that you would be there. And you have been. Even in my darkest moments, even when we fought, even when we couldn’t talk… I knew you had lifted me up.
Seesta… my only sister. Growing up, we fought like cats and dogs… You were my cool older sister and I wanted to be just like you. That meant, I was totally going to steal your things, likely break those things, and then blame you. And I did. A lot. But I also watched you. I learned that I needed to get a job, and you helped me get that first job. I learned that I had to study and that some days it was really going to suck. Mostly, I learned that I needed to be a good human being. When I called you and told you it was time for me to come home, that I was tired of using drugs and that I wanted a new life, you told me the only thing I needed to hear, “I just want my sister back”. Every time I think about calling it quits, every time I wonder if I could just manage better, I think of that. I think of these last two years and how much I have gotten to experience with you. And we’re thousands of miles apart. You (along with Mom) were my best friend and always will be. I will always admire your perseverance and I love that we’re on this college journey together.
To the in-laws… You all walked into this crazy, chaotic family and were given a tough road. I’m pretty sure I was a giant pain in the ass most of your dating careers… You were taking my siblings away (or so I thought). What I’ve come to learn and know is that I have gained a bigger, better family. We’ve all had our ups and downs, but you’ve loved me when I wasn’t lovable. You’ve loved me when you didn’t have to. And you’ve allowed me to be a part of your family, your kids’ lives.
Last, but not least…. the rest of you. You’re sort of the glue that holds this all together… My first two years back in the SuFu were tough. I was not committed to recovery, but I kept hanging out with “you people”. I didn’t know what else to do. Without the countless hours on the phone, in the rooms, and enjoying the fellowship, I would not be alive. Everyone who has entered my life in the last four years has made some sort of impact, whether it be good or bad… and even the bad became good when I learned to find the lessons in things. Those who have gone before me and those who have come after me have opened my eyes to an entirely different world. You have blessed me with guidance, support, acceptance and love… all while I was not very graceful about any of it. Hell, I’m still not graceful, but what I am is grateful. I was entirely unable to put together 24 hours of sobriety until I started to listen, observe and ask.
Both of my families have seen me through my hardest days and nights. Some string together, feeling like an eternity, while others are just brief moments in time. I hope that as I continue on this amazing journey and come to witness many more miracles, that I can some day give back what was so freely given to me. I will never be able to repay any of you for everything you have done, but I can surely try. And I do. And I will. God bless…