The word connotes pleasure, relaxation, summertime ease.  It’s time away with family, friends, a spouse, a pet.

In my family, vacation means Rehoboth.  The Delaware-beach resort, known for its family-friendly atmosphere, deep blue beach umbrellas, boardwalk fries and bumper cars, offers us all that a beach vacation can.

But for years the word “vacation” spurred unspoken anxiety.  What would we do about our son?  Would he join us?  And if he did, would he fade out of sight, sullen and sleepy in his bedroom? Could we count on him to join us at the beach?  To ride waves?  To build sand castles with his young nephew? Or even to sit with us on the front porch in creaky, worn rockers to watch the summer-world breeze by?

So many “vacation” questions haunted us when Jacob was sickened with addiction. Long before the week, the torment began.  Would his dark mood cast a shadow on our sunny days?  Should we not invite him at all?  If we did invite him, could we trust his staying clean?

Among the countless blessings of Jacob’s recovery – and our own – emerges the joy of anticipating vacation.  In Rehoboth, because he invites us to attend with him, AA meetings are now a part of our routine.  The one-hour gathering in a local church gives him – and us – the respite we need to reflect on our blessings. Humbled by the small gathering of men and women fighting their disease one day at a time, we discover the meeting enriches our vacation in ways we never could have imagined.

Recovery – for Jacob and for us – now gives us the pleasure of looking forward to vacation again, a time to build sand castles and memories together, and watch the world breeze by.

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