“It’s very inspiring because it’s a trickle-down effect: I left and got myself healthy and put myself back together, and I was able to help him put himself back together.”
So said Sally, a graduate of Turning Point Recovery, who was able to take her positive experience at the Addiction Campuses facility and turn it into something that she could use to help her father, who faced addiction issues of his own.
As a matter of fact, Sally was able to help both of her parents after going through addiction recovery.
“When I got home, my father was still using,” Sally told me. “When I was in rehab, I worked with my psychiatrist and almost processed it like my father had died, because I didn’t know if he was going to choose sobriety when I got out. I knew if I let it affect me it would affect my sobriety. I talked to him about it when I came home. And after some time, he did choose sobriety. He told me that he was waiting for me to get back to make his choice. I’ll never forget him saying that.
“When I was in rehab, my mother also decided she would benefit from some therapy,” Sally continued. “We talk all the time about how wonderful it is to have everyone back and healthy. I hope we don’t just talk about it because it’s been a year — I hope we talk about it forever. This was our path, and this is where it led. It could have turned out much differently, but we made the choice to get healthy, and that’s a big thing.”
While Sally’s story is special in that she was able to use her experience to help her own family members, it’s not uncommon at all for those in recovery to inspire others.
John, another recovering addict, now works at a rehabilitation facility in Tennessee and even has a blog that he works on with his wife to inspire others via the internet. Not only does he inspire others, but he still finds inspiration of his own from his peers every day.
“It’s like an extended family. … We’ve been through the trenches together … we’ve been there, we’ve done it, and we know it wasn’t easy. To see people on Facebook post what they’ve been doing — ‘I’ve just reached 6 months!’ — that’s inspiring.
“Instead of helping out one person, I’m helping a lot of people at once by calling hospitals and employee assistance programs and telling them, ‘Here’s what we have to offer, here’s what’s different about us.’ I can actually say that I know how this program works because I’ve been through it.”
There are countless stories about how people who have made it through recovery have gone on to inspire others to do the same, but the truth is, even those who have yet to graduate from a program can have just as much of a positive effect on fellow addicts. Sometimes, it takes another survivor to let you know that there are others just like you.
“The first day I got [to the recovery center] I met a lot of great people,” recalled Jeff, another recovering addict, when I spoke to him after a year of sobriety. “I learned more from the addicts there than from anybody. They taught me a lot.”
I’ve interviewed quite a few recovering addicts, and every single one of them shared some story or anecdote involving people inspiring their peers to better their lives. It’s truly remarkable how much positivity regularly stems from what began as a negative situation in someone’s life.
Cecelia Johnson believes strongly in the power of good deeds and recognizing great work. That’s why she created RecognitionWorks.org. The site is dedicated to connecting those who’ve been awarded for exemplary work in their communities to companies and organizations that can help them continue their admirable efforts through donations, sponsorships, and gifts. By making these connections, she hopes to build stronger, more altruistic communities and citizens.