Who Is Your Super Hero? We All Need Help Along The Way
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My dad and I are both addicts. We both needed a little help along the way. This is true in ordinary life, but when it comes to addiction, you’re going to need all the help you can get. Addiction support is one of the biggest aspects of recovery. It’s extremely necessary to the entire process. If you’re lucky enough to have a strong support system, your chances of coming out on top are pretty good. We all have moments when we think we can do it alone. It’s great to have self-confidence, but in the world of recovery, it can be your downfall. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have self-confidence. In fact, you’re going to need a lot of it throughout this struggle.
It’s important to have people who tell you what you need to hear. Everyone going through addiction recovery needs to have these people in their life. Sure having that friend who tells you like it is can be a little irritating at times, but it’s necessary for us to keep them around. We need to hear uncomfortable things once in a while. When I was actively using drugs and alcohol, I didn’t want anyone to tell me a thing about it.
I got it! I know what I need to do! Did I? It’s easy to get into the mindset of ‘I got this I can do it on my own.’ This is where things get tricky. When you refuse to open up and let others in or express their concerns, you are closing yourself off from reality. You can live in your own little world so long. When you finally have that moment of clarity, you realize how important it is to have those ‘tell it like it is’ friends around.
I’ve luckily had a lot of people in my corner throughout my struggle. Addiction peer support can come from a lot of unexpected places. I don’t want to put the importance of any of them above the other, but I can say without a doubt that my father probably is just as responsible for my recovery as I am. My father is a former addict, and when he saw me going through my struggle, he knew exactly what to do. He was supportive, but he was also real with me. He let me know real quick that it wasn’t going to end well. After years of denial, I finally realized that he was right.
Speaking From Experience
When you’re suffering from addiction, the only people who can really get through to you are those who have gone through it themselves. It’s very difficult to help an addict if you have no frame of reference. I didn’t want to hear from any of my friends or family members who never went through it themselves. I respect them for trying to help me, but at the time there’s no way they could know what I was going through. I didn’t want to listen to my father either, but I couldn’t really dismiss what he was telling me. Addiction support can come from all different places, but it’s the most helpful when it comes from people who have been through it.
My dad had been through it. He had been through a very similar struggle. He is an alcoholic who quit drinking when I was young. After one too many drunk driving arrests, he finally woke up and realized that he didn’t want to be the guy on the news who killed a family with his car. I was quite young when he finally got clean, so I don’t have a lot of memories of him during his addiction. For that, I am very grateful. From the stories I’ve heard, he was a very nasty drunk and had no regard for anybody else’s safety. Hence the drunk driving arrests.
I’ve driven drunk countless times and for some reason, I was lucky enough to have never crashed. There were some close calls, and I take no pride in this being a part of my story. I myself was arrested for drunk driving, and rather than come from a place of anger and rage, my father came from a place of compassion. Sure he could have yelled and screamed at me, but he knew that didn’t work when his father did it to him.
He was very straightforward with me. He picked me up from jail and we drove home. In a very calm tone of voice, he said the following words. “This is deadly behavior, you know. I can’t tell you how to live your life, but I can tell you that this is going to end very badly for you. You are going to either kill yourself or somebody else. Perhaps both at the same time.”
The Right Words Stick.
I’ll always remember those words. For whatever reason, they’ve stayed in my head even after all these years. It was the tone of his voice and the way he said it more than the actual words. I could tell he was speaking from a place of experience. He was very blunt. He didn’t tell me this could happen, he told me that it would. The words stuck. I continued to drink and go downhill for about a year after that, but eventually I couldn’t avoid hearing those words any longer. They stuck and they finally made me realize what I needed to do.
When I entered recovery, I kept these words close. I wrote them down on a piece of paper and kept them in my wallet. “Your going to kill yourself, someone else, or both.” It’s a very direct statement. It’s not debatable. Sure, there are people who drive drunk and never kill anyone. Is that something to be proud of? Does that give you bragging rights? It doesn’t mean you aren’t harmful in one way or another. You harm others through your addiction no matter what. You harm your loved ones. You can harm anyone that enters your life and not even realize it until it’s too late.
It took me a long time to tell my father how much that meant to me. When I finally did, it was the first time I saw him cry in years. He told me how proud he was of me and how he had always tried to find the right thing to say to me. He was very grateful to learn that it was something he said that helped. As someone who went through it himself, he knows how important it is to provide addiction support to others. We all need a superhero once in a while. I’m very thankful that I had mine.
Deborah Tayloe is a freelance writer specializing in health and sciences. Deborah earned a B.S.Ed. in Secondary Education/English, accompanied by a Spanish minor. Her writing expertise allows her to craft engaging, impactful articles to help people be well.
In addition, she holds a fully accredited Certificate of Natural Medicine and is a certified Herbalist. Through her understanding of complementary medicine, Deborah helps medical professionals give people the information they need to embrace natural approaches to wellness.
When she’s not working, Deborah trains for 5K races and advocates for animal rights.