Addiction in the U.S. affects the lives of millions of people, including the many family members who endure the pain and suffering of growing up in a world of alcohol and substance dependence. Sosha Lewis, an ardent supporter of Phoenix House, is one of those family members whose life was forever changed by addiction. On her blog (http://itsnotsasha.com/Popular_Posts.html), Sosha recounts her own journey of emotional and spiritual recovery, as she describes watching her mother and brother die of drug-related causes within two years of each other. Sosha’s letter to her younger self, includes a description of her own transformation—from a lonely and defensive girl surrounded by turmoil to an independent, self-aware woman, able to acknowledge her own past hurt. An excerpt of her story is included below:
You will graduate college. You will move to Charlotte, NC. You will marry an amazing man, the one that was stronger than you, the one that climbed over the walls and refused to leave. You will have good jobs and make great friends. However, you will still spend most of your twenties thinking that you are a little more amazing than you are. You will be under the impression that you did everything on your own. Honestly, you are completely full of yourself. You have done good, kid, but you haven’t exactly won the Nobel Peace Prize.
It gets better.
No, you don’t win the Nobel Peace Prize, but you do get one part of that prize. You get peace. Your peace will be speckled with pain, as you will lose your mom and brother in a two year span. However, in that two years you will welcome the most magical little person ever created, you will welcome in your peace…
You will always flash back on those dark and twisted memories, but you will use them now to help you learn. You will knock down the walls. You will let people in and you will let them know how happy you are that they are there.
You will gain empathy, true empathy. You will understand that there were parts of your life that were rough, really rough. However, there are so many people out there with problems so much greater than yours, and without the support you had.
You don’t become a saint…You will still have to be put in check every now and then.
However, you will love and hug and kiss – every day, all day. You will not hit. You will not yell, well, you will try not to yell. You will use kind words. You will smile – lots! You will be goofy and silly. You will trust. You will find security. You will know who you are and you will like you.
Hell, you will love you!
Keep fighting, kid. Keep fighting!
To all of the family members of people struggling with addiction, our thoughts are with you and we are doing our best to ensure you are taken care of. For example, Phoenix Houses of the Mid-Atlantic (PHMA) holds a weekly Concerned Persons Group, which is open to family members or significant others of any client who is currently receiving treatment in any PHMA program. This family-focused program is just one of many we have in place across the country.
To any concerned person whose loved one is thinking about the Phoenix House for treatment, please ask about the many family support programs we already have in place AND keep fighting!