“They knew me and they knew that despite the drugs, I’m a good person.”
Christy, a recovering addict who recently graduated from Addiction Campuses’ Mississippi facility, Turning Point Recovery, said this of the people who supported her as she made efforts to turn her life around.
It’s not uncommon for people with addiction issues to assume that nobody cares about them anymore. People get hurt and relationships are strained when people become addicted to drugs or alcohol. It certainly is hard to reconnect with people in many cases. That said, after speaking to a number of recovering addicts, I learned that a lot of them are surprised — and grateful — to find that people do still care.
Christy got to the point where her children were going to be taken away from her by the state, which almost certainly comes with plenty of judgment and ill feelings from friends and relatives. Still, she found an unexpected amount of sympathy and understanding.
“It was amazing how everybody came together to help out even though I put us in this situation. It was just heartwarming,” she told me. “All these people said, ‘We’re not just going to stay back while your kids get taken away from you.’ They came and helped fix the house. Someone gave us a new air conditioner. There were all kinds of things wrong in our house — the yard was terrible. We knew a man with a construction crew, and he sent his guys out with tractors … so people came out and worked all day long one day. He paid his own employees to come and fix up our land. … It was just amazing how people came together. … I was so humbled. I thought, ‘Look at what I have done, and look at what these people are doing for my kids.’”
She said that she would share this story with other people struggling with addiction who may think that nobody will understand or care about them.
“It wasn’t just one person — it was several people. … My parents really wouldn’t babysit that much, but they kept my kids out of foster care. People came from everywhere … people that I wouldn’t normally think would be there. …”
“You don’t realize it; you don’t think about it,” she said. “You just think that you’re so bad, what you’ve done is just so horrible, but there are still people that care. …You don’t realize that other people really can relate. You don’t think that. You don’t know that. But there are a lot of people out there who do understand. You’re not the only horrible person in the world — you’re not!”
Sally, who has been sober for over a year, told me that simply realizing that she needed to get help was meaningful in itself, but that the support of other people meant a lot.
“One of the things in rehab they’ll tell you is that you’re not here to make friends — but you kind of are,” she insisted. “I made a best friend there and we’ve been best friends for a year now. You need that contact, because that’s going to be your source to pick up instead of a substance. It’s support in all different ways, whether it’s someone listening to you about things you’ve never gotten off your chest, or support after a rough day and you can just laugh together. You have to have it all when you’re going through it. If nobody cared, we’d all be screwed.”
And that’s just it.
There are people who care, no matter if you believe it to be true or not. Even if you can’t get through to your friends and family, so many have found the support they needed right in rehab. If you look hard enough, you will find someone who cares — guaranteed.
Although I’ve never personally struggled with addiction, it’s an issue that’s close to my heart — and after having conversations with all kinds of amazing women in recovery, I’m more passionate than ever about breaking down the stigma that’s often associated with this disease! I’ve learned through this work that we all have the power to support those who are dealing with the unthinkable; I’m just trying to do my part. And I truly hope that Wendy and Sally’s stories serve as a reminder that it’s not just me who cares — countless people care about and want what’s best for you, no matter what mountain you’re trying to climb.
I’ll leave you with these final words of wisdom from Sally: “If you’re honest with everybody, it’s not so bad — more people will understand than won’t. A lot more people understand addiction than we realize.”
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