I’m so proud of Emily. Two weeks ago we were there (boys/Emily’s parents) for her graduation ceremony. Even in recovery she’s a straight-A student. She worked hard, took advantage of every training and therapeutic opportunity, and put in the effort. We even met a few of her pals. Of course, everyone in the residence talked about her kind heart, lovely soul, authentic care for others. It was a great celebration full of real life struggle and victory. We went to dinner at a cool restaurant and got home — together again after many weeks. It’s good to have Emily home.
One question that gets asked in recovery is “will it work?”, which is an obvious question without a simple answer. There is no guarantee, no warranty. People are more complex than refrigerators. It’s like when I hit a weight loss goal. Did it work? Yes. Will it work? That depends on the decisions I make each day. I’m currently 20 pounds over, thanks in large part to the wonderful ministry of casserole and cake that our family has been blessed by. But yeah, recovery is an ongoing process with milestones, a process made complex by the desire all of us struggle with — we want to do the things we know we shouldn’t. Addiction is that plus a million, because now our brain chemistry is part of the hijacking.
If I were Emily, I would feel like everyone was watching me, which isn’t much fun. I remember a moment in 4th grade where I fell off my chair and let out a seismic burst of gas from my pant region. Everyone turned around. Even the teacher was appalled. Sure, I can laugh about it now. Or you can, whatever.
People have been very supportive during this time. I have a new appreciation for our family, our friends, and the community of believers. It’s going to be tough for some people to know what to do in response now that Emily’s home. I would take the low and slow approach: say hey, but don’t feel pressure to do an inventory or give a rundown or anything. Most of us have the inborn desire to make sure we ask how someone is doing — we ask how they’re feeling, what they need, and how they really feel. That’s a great, caring inquiry that can become overwhelming through repetition. If 2-3 people ask, that’s one thing. Imagine hundreds giving that kind of attention, albeit with good intention. Just thinking about it makes me want to take a nap. I can’t imagine what that must be like for Emily. You have permission to smile without making your concern overt. We know you care.
I think her post puts it well.