I’m out visiting my sister and her family this week. She’s been having a lot of abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting for 2-3 days. After talking to her family doc, she was advised to head to the emergency room. Four hours later after multiple tests, they came to a diagnosis and sent her home with some meds for the nausea and pain. As the nurse handed me the meds (being the attending family member) which included narcotic pain pills, I could see a knowing but caring look in my sister’s eyes. She whispered “You’re not getting any of those!” And ya know – it felt great! She wasn’t lecturing me or being condescending – it was half joking, but with a loving tone. After all, I had taken Xanax and narcotic pain pills from my mom and grandmother. So now the big family joke is “Guess Mom will lay off CT for having copied his sister’s English paper in 9th grade.” That was about the worst trouble I got into growing up…or at least the story that [used to] top the list of mom’s terror stories from my childhood. Needless to say…I made up in later years 😉
What was really great about this was the level of freedom my honesty had brought. When I hit bottom, I made sure all of my family & close friends knew the whole truth. It was the deception and masks that had gotten me into so much trouble. Even my 97 year old grandmother was told, and I’ve received such an outpouring of love, support & understanding across the board. That in turn helps my recovery through a sound, broad support network. My sister stayed at my house for a week while I was in treatment, visiting every day. My dad came for 2 weeks while I was back at work and in outpatient treatment to help around the house. They both attended family nights at the treatment center and learned about my story, addiction in general and ways to be supportive.
Because they know everything – my sister earns the right as an accountability partner to check up on me, and to tease me (knowingly) about such situations. And I rightly reported back that the medicine bottle was sealed, so she was ok. Quite honestly, had it not been sealed – I probably would have taken alternative action just to ensure I couldn’t slip something out. Today, I was in a strong enough place that it wasn’t even a temptation — but another time, and it could very well be. So, it’s great having family & friends know my illness so they can support my accountability in a loving but non-codependent fashion. What joy – what freedom – what love!