Families come in many forms. Most of us think of family as the people we are related to, but you don’t have to be blood-related to be family. Family can be good friends or even a pet. Family are the people whom you care for deeply, people whom you trust, and the people who stick at your side no matter what. In the process of working towards recovery and staying in recovery, having the support of family is very important. No matter what kind of family you have, they are essential to the process of reaching and staying in recovery. They are the strong shoulders that keep you going when you’re at your wits’ end.
The support of my biological family helped me climb the walls of my hole to recovery. My mom knew for a while something was wrong, but I kept denying it. She even took time each week to visit me at my grandparents, while I was living with them, to take me out and do things. One day I crumpled in her arms and told her all about my self-injuring, how sad I was, and my attempts to take my life. Mom didn’t waste any time.
She moved me back home and started a search to find me help. She took me to a therapist who only made things worse. When she couldn’t find me another therapist, she went to the mental health department of a nearby hospital for advice. She stopped at nothing. To this day she remains an important part of my recovery. When my husband is not around, I can just pick up the phone and call Mom. She’ll talk to me for as long as I need her. She always listens, encourages me, and gives me good advice. My dad has always been there to0. He loves me no matter what and he also encourages me.
For a few years I found recovery and started living the life I dreamed of. I had friends and a social life and I started dating. I had everything I didn’t have when I was in school. Then once again I fell back into my illness. In that time I became very close to Cheryl. She and I became so close it was like we were sisters, even calling each other sis. I could call her anytime: morning, day, and even late into the night. She stuck by me through an abusive relationship. She was there to pull me out of the way of an oncoming vehicle, she talked to me when I cried my eyes out and stayed on the phone until I was laughing, and she put her own needs a-side to help me when I needed her the most.
Cheryl and I lost contact for some time, but once we found each other again, our bond stayed just as strong. I text her all the time, and she gives me advice and is still very supportive. She reminds me when I start slipping to think positively and uses my own blog post against me. She reads all my posts and remembers what she has learned from them to help me when I am struggling. I am now able to be there for her, too. We help each other out and I still call her sis. She is my big sister in my heart and that’s all that counts.
When I was sick, I was pretty mean to my biological siblings, but they continue to stand at my side. Just knowing that they care and love me is enough support to keep me going. They could have disowned me for things I have done when I was down, but they haven’t. I talk to my sisters when I can and even though my brother isn’t as talkative, he supports me in his own way.
Then there are my dogs. I have had four throughout my adult life that were and are my babies. My dogs have always been a comfort to me. They loved me unconditionally and gave me comfort in a way humans couldn’t. They gave me strength and endless love. The dog I have now, Esther, follows me everywhere and loves to snuggle. Just feeling the softness of her fur beneath my skin is soothing. She and my past dogs are the children I can’t have and they always knew when I needed them most. When I had foot surgery last year, Esther would not leave me. Not even to get down to eat, and my husband had to carry her outside to get her to go potty.
Lean on your family for support. Family can be anyone who cares about you and loves you for who you are. No matter who your family is, biological or non-biological, look to them for support and allow them to help you reach recovery and stay within the light. If they love you, they will stand at your side no matter what.
I could go on and on about the family support I have. Like my husband’s aunt, uncle, and cousins who welcomed me into their lives with open arms, but I can never forget the one who is my strength, my logic, my rock, my inspiration and much more: my husband. Lou, my husband, is always there for me. I depend on him a lot. He never fails to be at my side. He has helped me reach recovery and stay within it. He always knows the right thing to do and say.
I have a lot of family who stand beside me, listen to me, care for me and help me stay in recovery. Because of their support, I stand within the light of their unending love.