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A Pathway Towards Recovery

posted at 2013-01-08 14:40:00

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A Supportive Family: A Pathway Towards Recovery
    In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.-Alex Haley
Addiction is a disease of shame and isolation. At its best a family is a place of acceptance and integration. I would like to share one such story of a young man named Bryan and his family whose mutual connection and commitment through thick and thin laid a foundation for transformation.Bryan with his sister and Dad

First I want you to meet Bryan. Bryan is a successful graduate of Cayuga Addiction Recovery Services (CARS) long term residential addiction treatment program outside Trumansburg, NY. Bryan is 26 and struggled from a very early age with substance use that mutated into an addiction to opiates by the time he was in his late teens. As Bryan put it, “I think this all started with my hanging out with people who were so much older than me. I was 11 and they were juniors and seniors in high school.” Bryan talks about how this all disintegrated quickly into criminal behavior to support his addiction, which meant involvement in the criminal justice system and time in jail. “I think that was all about trying to delay the inevitable.”

Through all of his difficulties, Bryan felt a strong connection to his family. This connection was what moved him at various times both towards and away from help. “I think the disappointment I was to my family was something that weighed heavy on me.” There was another side to Bryan’s relationship to his family as well. “My dad always supported me but he always had clear rules about what was OK and what was not. He never ‘enabled’ me and I tried to always be honest.”  Bryan felt the key for him getting on the right road was his stay at CARS long term residential addiction treatment program. “The program helped me learn how to express things. I used to cover up a lot. I learned to let things sink in and understand what I did and that people cared about me and that I could fix things.”
When speaking with Bryan and his older sister, Stacey, and his dad John, who are partners in a local flower shop where Bryan pitches in to help regularly, you get a deep sense of their profound connection and commitment to Bryan and his recovery. As Stacey says, “Bryan is really honest with himself. He has good insight. He is a great brother too. He is the kind of person I would have as a friend even if he wasn’t my brother.” Bryan’s dad John talks about the difficult days past when, “Bryan went through the same cycle and he was just getting physically sicker and sicker.” Both Stacey and her dad remember, “There were times of driving around looking for him, hoping he [Bryan] was OK.” Both feel the CARS program really helped Bryan. John visited Bryan on a regular basis at the residential program and saw “a very structured program that was what he needed and I heard from Bryan about some of the people who didn’t make it.”
Overall, Bryan, his sister and his dad understand that their family has been and will continue to be a real resource to Bryan as he continues with his journey of transformation. Stacey sums this up when she says, “We have a big family that never let Bryan go because we always saw that good guy even if sometimes we had to work hard to see it.”