The steps before the steps

The steps before the steps

Many people today know about “Twelve Step” programs that support men and women with addictions – of almost any kind.

But for those who are new to addiction in a loved one or friend, they may not realize there are “steps” before the “Twelve. “

For me, the first step was denial.

When a trusted teacher at Jacob’s high school phoned about my son’s new behaviors, my reaction was he had the wrong kid.  Don’t all high schoolers drink?  Experiment with drugs? He was just going through a phase. It would fade.

The second step?  Shame.  What if my son really was using drugs?  What would that say about me as a  mother?  Surely, I had failed.  I had to keep this hidden.

Next came bargaining.  Jacob, for every dollar you save, Dad and I will match it so you can buy a car.  You’ve wanted a car since you started high school.

Negotiating failed. Neither threats nor bribes made any difference.

The next step?  Professional help.

But it wasn’t easy to find and less easy to find the right fit.  After three visits a psychologist once told me. “I just told your son to smoke a little less.”

Finally, there was desperation  –  that clouded afternoon when I faced the child I loved so fiercely that every nerve and muscle in my body screamed to hold him fast. Instead, I found the strength to say, you have a choice.  You need to leave our house – or accept treatment.

So began Jacob’s recovery.  Forced to face life as an adult, miles from his parents whom he knew loved him, a better way to live took hold.

As he found his recovery, I found mine.

Al-Anon helped me start at the beginning, again.  And this time I counted to 12.

4 Replies to “The steps before the steps”

  1. Lisa, you are a strong, amazing mother and person. You give inspiration to all who read your insightful blogs.