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Karen and Eddie’s story

“Who do we turn to?  Who do we go to?”

These are some of the questions Karen and Eddie asked themselves when their oldest daughter showed signs of addiction. They went through shock, anger and loneliness, constantly wondering where they had gone wrong as parents.

“We have two children who are in recovery, our eldest daughter and our son. We started the journey with our daughter 12 years ago. None of our family members or friends had any experience with addiction. We didn’t have a lot of people to turn to, and there weren’t a lot of resources out there,” says Karen.

They started attending The Family Restored meetings. The meetings for family members facilitated by people in recovery, who shared their stories and provided education. It showed them what recovery looks like and what other people in recovery were able to accomplish.

“We felt like we were no longer alone. We started to listen to what other parents had to say, and to open up more. We could relate to those stories, and it gave us hope. We learned to provide our daughter help when she was ready for it, to tell her we’re willing to be there for her but not to give her money or to provide things that she would misuse.”

Parents often feel like they have to fix things. However, from the family meetings, Karen and Eddie learned that in trying to do everything to help their daughter, they were enabling her. They had to stop,
and that was one of the hardest things as parents.

“We finally realized that change is not going to come from us; it’s going to come from her. You can’t fix it; they have to fix it.

“The first time we met with a particular counselor, she said, ‘You have to take care of yourself!’

I said, ‘I don’t have a problem; it’s my daughter’… not recognizing that we, too, have a problem. We learned that we were also obsessed with her behavior.”

Handling the Experience as a Family

The experience wasn’t easy for Karen and Eddie. They had many ups and downs. However, they were focused on being present when their daughter would be ready to get help.

“We couldn’t just focus on that one child. We also had to continue to focus on our other children as well. You had to have hope. We fell down more than a couple times, but then we got back up. We learned how to set boundaries and to take care of ourselves. We learned that we were helping them by taking care of ourselves.”

Taking Care of Yourself as Parents

Karen and Eddie found healing in helping other people, exercising and doing things that made them better mentally and made them feel good.

“We had to understand that we could not control the situation,” Eddie explained. “We had to find a place to get support; that’s where the meetings came in. That’s where we found hope.”

How Things Have Changed

“Our youngest daughter had her first child, and the godparents are her older sister and younger brother; something we never thought was going to happen,” Karen said. “Our son and our eldest daughter grew closer. It’s wonderful seeing the family come back. We always did things together. Now to have everyone there once again, and to have happiness back in the family, we’re extremely grateful. It made us stronger as a family.”

>> from the journey team, check out Karen & Eddie’s story on our youtube channel