Among the many consequences of active addiction, one of the greatest tolls is the loss of relationships. Many who enter recovery have become severed from those they are closest to. The nature of the disease of addiction and the destruction that ensues makes it impossible for us to maintain healthy relationships with friends and family. Throughout the journey of recovery, repairing such relationships and creating new ones represents a cornerstone of a successful and fulfilling program.

My own journey with recovery began with a departure from a university I had been attending for several years. After much consultation, I agreed to go to a treatment facility to seek help for the many issues plaguing my life. At the time, my greatest fear was leaving the friends I had made at school. However, after sobering up, it dawned on me that those “using friends” wanted nothing to do with me. In fact, in my darkest moments, only my family was there to help me despite the many reasons I had given them to abandon me.

Upon arriving at this treatment center, one of the more seasoned clients sat down next to me, clearly sensing how scared and out of place I felt. Knowing I had just come from a school, he looked at me and said, half joking, “Don’t worry kid, this is kind of like a fraternity, except everyone in this fraternity is a delusional drug addict or alcoholic.” Looking back, that was quite humorous, but at the time I felt quite scared. However, in the following months, I came to find a community of men and women who felt and thought the same way I did. Bound by common suffering, strangers from all walks of life were united behind a common goal of seeking help from this disease.

While the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous is of paramount importance in my life today, I also must remember my family, as they were the ones who were willing to drag me back from that dark place. In working with other alcoholics, I picked up on many principles such as honesty, integrity, and compassion. As I move forward with my life, it has been equally important that I continue to apply such principles to my family. Though I have made amends to siblings and parents and cleared my side of the street, I must continue to repair and improve these relationships. Today, I enjoy and am tremendously grateful for the restored relationships I have with my family members. After all, I owe them my life.

– By Matt C