Voices for Recovery
Dr Tian Dayton
New York, NY
Director of Program Development for the Caron Foundation; Program Consultant to the Freedom Institute; Maintains a Private Practice
What brought me into this field was what brought so many of us in, a personal relationship with addiction. I watched my father’s life, vitality, and faith in a happy future slip slowly into a bottle of scotch. “First the man took the drink, then the drink took the drink, then the drink took the man.” Living around addiction - and the pain and chaos it engendered - was traumatizing. It left most of my family with post-traumatic stress disorder. Even years after my dad and the alcohol were gone, the pain it had triggered in all of us was still there, making it hard to relate in a trusting, comfortable manner.
Living on an emotional edge, we were always looking over our shoulders and waiting for the other shoe to drop. I found recovery when I realized the pain from my childhood was interfering with my marriage and mothering. It was an emotional and psychological cancer that was spreading through my most cherished relationships and not getting any better on its own. In fact, it seemed hidden and getting worse, leaking out in overreactions, anger, frustration, and an odd cocktail of emotions, misunderstanding, and disconnections. I threw everything into treating it, as if my life depended on it, because it did and so did the lives of my loved ones.
Along with lots of education on the subject of addiction as a family illness, I did one-to-one therapy, group therapy, 12-step programs and several treatment weeks. After 33 years of marriage, 2 thriving adult children, and a wonderful career, I can say that it worked. I’ve written 12 self-help books on addiction and trauma, and my most recent book, Emotional Sobriety: From Relationship Trauma to Resilience and Balance, helps people who have been addicted or lived around addiction to understand what happened to them – finding some answers to conflicts they carry from their past and a new, orderly direction for the future.