Last week, I had the pleasure of attending Constellation Behavioral Health’s 5th Annual Miracles Breakfast, a celebration intended to honor individuals and their remarkable contributions to addiction treatment. As I sat, representing North Bay Recovery Center, surrounded by my peers, I was touched by the level of dedication from both the honorees, and the attendees; all gathered together with one goal in mind. All of us, connected by our own why, determined to fight against the battle of addiction, with the understanding that our efforts have meaning.
I never intended to work in this field. In fact, because I too am in recovery, I began my career with the notion that I needed to focus on something outside of addiction, misguided by the thought that my personal and professional life were meant to be separate. As time went on, I continued to be pulled in the direction of recovery, fascinated by the disease and the misinformation on the topic, along with the lack of empathy and resources for the many individuals and families struggling with addiction. An internal drive and my resilient nature paved the way for me to shift my focus; recognizing the importance of giving back to my community.
Last night, I was talking with a mother whose son is in the grips of his disease. She quickly drew a picture, one of which we’re all too familiar with. A sensitive young man, with great potential, unable to see what he is doing to himself and his family. "Using" every day, lashing out, stacking up consequences, and unwilling to try something different, at least for the time being. Addiction doesn’t discriminate, evidenced by the number of cases we experience on a regular basis. In moments like these, when unwillingness is so prevalent, we hold a safe space for the loved ones, offering support and resources, keenly aware that recovery is possible. We know this to be true because we observe the shift in our clients, the ones who are ready to surrender.
Each day, someone loses their battle against addiction. A mother buries her son, a child grows up without their parent(s), a student drops out of school, or a friend is thrown in jail. The consequences are endless. Addiction is paramount in our culture, lingering in the wings, ready to strike. And the individuals gathered at the Olympic Club on that overcast Friday morning, primed for the counterattack are the real warriors. The work is tedious, heartbreaking, and exhausting at times. However, miracles happen more often than we think. When a person seeks help, begins to do the work, and the light comes back into their eyes; that’s a miracle. Families reuniting, dysfunctional patterns changed, and lives restored, is another miracle. Doctors, clinicians, and case workers showing up, day in and day out; what a miracle.
Hope, courage, inspiration and miracles. The four pillars of recovery. Change is possible, but not without a tireless and collective effort. Taking the opportunity to honor the ones who are helping to make a difference, places a value on the work, further sparking our purpose. We stand united, and dedicated to working in the trenches, side by side; one day at a time.