Voices for Recovery
Recently, a mother brought her 9-year-old son, Phillip, to the children's program where I work. Although she had been clean and sober for 11 years, she wanted Phillip to participate in the program to help him understand their long family history with alcoholism and the recovery lifestyle she wholeheartedly embraced.
Phillip immediately took to the program. He'd tear up when others shared their pain, reach out his hand to anyone who needed it, and give astounding feedback with wisdom and conviction that reached beyond his years. At one point, the children were asked to write a story about how addiction has hurt their families. Phillip struggled, as he didn't have firsthand exposure, but I advised, "Just write about what you've learned here so far." He nodded, grinned, and started to write.
The next day, the adults gathered to hear the children's stories. Typically during this exercise, there is a full range of emotions—fear, guilt, shame, gratitude, joy, and sadness. I encouraged Phillip's hesitant mother to stay and listen to what Phillip had to say. When it was his turn, Phillip sat across from his mom in the middle of the circle and opted to talk just to her. "I've learned one important thing here. God really blessed me when he made you my mom. Thanks for being sober for my whole life. I promise I won't get mad at you anymore when you go to your meetings. Now I understand."
His mother fought her way to recovery. What a gift her son gave her that day. This small family reminded me that the gifts of recovery are bountiful in many, many ways.