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Turnbridge Family Program: A Message to Parents from Diana Clark

Diana Clark

Dear Parents, This letter is written as a message of hope to those of you who have a loved one struggling with substance abuse and addiction. I know that there are moments when you feel scared and alone. I urge you to remember that there is help available and that many have gone before you. I hear you cry with concern that addiction will result in a diminished life for your loved one. Many describe addiction as a curse attacking your family. I understand that fear; I often am afraid as well. But, every once in a while I get a glimpse at a larger picture. And I question: What if addiction isn’t a curse? What if life in recovery isn’t a diminished life? Instead, what if addiction is the catalyst for people to live life with depth, humility and meaning. For many addicts, pushing through addiction and into recovery can be a unique launching pad towards amazing functional adulthood. For those of you with fortitude, commitment and support, recovery can be your prescription for living life with meaning as well. Those who actively engage in the recovery process become more loving, patient, compassionate and empathetic people. The road from addiction through recovery is not a flat super highway. It is hilly and replete with confusing crossroads which may be painful for you and your loved one. Even with the accompanying times of pain, many tell me that they find the journey worth it: “I wouldn’t wish it on anyone else but……. wouldn’t trade the experience.” one parent recently said about his family’s recovery. As a Family Addictions Consultant I have had the honor to work with many of you in the midst of your struggle and have witnessed you channel your love and direct it into a healing force. I am awestruck by your love, bravery and tenacity. I have learned that action directed by this love can promote adult functioning and independence. It won’t however, be easy. When your love and nurturing focus shifts from protecting your loved one’s addiction or abuse of substances, to promoting their growth you may even be confronted with your own resistance to change. Addiction can be your personal tornado blowing through your family and changing everyone in its path. I’ve seen some of you embrace the change, abandon your old house, and build a new one filled with vitality and purpose. Sadly, I have also witnessed others succumb to fear, remain unchanged and become another hurdle in their loved one’s lives. I invite you to become part of the solution, because with struggle and change on everyone’s part, recovery for all is possible. You are all in my thoughts. Yours, Diana Clark, JD, MA