Note: This article is a continuation of Healing Transitions’ SEE RECOVERY series. Some of what is told in this story reflect what was told in Chris’s recovery story, so you will want to go back and read that article first if you haven’t already. Read Chris’s story HERE.
Growing up, Christopher was a quiet, reserved, and smart child. He was always in honors and the academically-gifted classes and had a love for learning which lasted all the way through high school. He had a close circle of friends while he was in school, and always had a deep faith in God. Christopher has always been honest with anyone who talks to him, which was true all the way back to elementary school when he was encouraged to run for class president.
As his parents, Christopher was a child who always listened to us and rarely ever got into trouble. There were very few times that he needed to be disciplined because he would always listen and follow any guidelines that we set for him. For a long time, he never liked to go and sleep at someone else’s house; he would rather have someone over to our place to spend the night.
Laura – Personally, he and I had a very close relationship. We used to go on walks and do arts and crafts together. We just really enjoyed the company of one another.
It wasn’t until his senior year of high school that we got the first inkling that anything was off. That’s when he began going over and sleeping at his friends’ houses. There was even one time where the mother of one of his friends caught them with some marijuana. That certainly wasn’t great, but we just figured it was a pretty normal teenage thing to do.
Once he graduated high school, he really didn’t want to go to college, but we kind of pushed him to go. When he went to college – that was when we really started to notice changes. He used to call us every single night, but those calls became less frequent and at odd-hours. That, paired with his grades that were failing, made us begin to question what was happening.
We did have conversations with him about what we were noticing, and Christopher was fairly open with what was going on. One night during a walk, he admitted that he was in trouble and asked to go to rehab, so we took him to a 30-day treatment center. He stayed there for the full 30 days, but he relapsed after he got out. It took him a lot longer this time to tell us that he was struggling, we actually could see the signs before he came to us. Eventually, he wound up going back to treatment again.
Theodore – We visited him throughout his treatment. I had a bit of an understanding of what he was going through because my father was an alcoholic, so I understood the disease and made sure that we would go and visit him to show our love and support for him.
It was very difficult for us knowing that our son was struggling with addiction like this. We had to find help for ourselves, so we started attending meetings to find support which really helped change our outlook on things.
Laura – I was very angry at the time. I was upset and hurt. I literally was brought to my knees by this. To the point where whenever Chris was out and not knowing where he was, I would be on my knees praying that he would come home. But after listening to the experiences of other folks at these meetings, I realized that this is not something that I can change and that I had to take care of myself.
At one meeting, we heard the phrase “release with love” from someone, and that really struck a chord with us. It made us realize that we couldn’t do this anymore. We had a younger child that we were raising, we were made sick by the constant state of worry we were in, and we couldn’t continue enabling his addiction. So one time after he had relapsed and was getting out of the hospital, we told him that he couldn’t come back to our home. And for the first time, we had him involuntarily committed.
Before this, we had heard of Healing Transitions (which was The Healing Place of Wake County at the time), and had done some research on it. We saw that 75% of people who went through the recovery program were still sober a year later, and there were so many people who remained in recovery years after completing the program. That gave us hope. So we gave Christopher the option to go to Healing Transitions or to a different rehab, and he chose HT.
Theodore – When I picked him up from the hospital that day, I brought him straight to Healing Transitions and told him “this is the best I can do of you, son. If you decide to walk in there, then you walk in there. If you walk in there and decide to walk back out, that’s your decision”.
As he started going through the program, we lived close by so we would bring him food from time to time and see him on breaks after his meetings. We knew that he was being educated on exactly how the disease of addiction works, so we figured it would take some time before we began to see any changes, and we just provided as much support to him as we could.
At the time that we took him to his grandfather’s funeral, he had recently relapsed and was sent back to the beginning of the recovery program. But we felt it was important for him to be at the funeral, so we talked with the leaders at Healing Transitions to let them know why he would be leaving for a few days. We knew that was the last time that he used.
After he returned to HT from the funeral and began to work the program, that’s when we really started to see his normal personality come back and a lot of positive change in him. We began to see our son coming back to us. As he made his way through the program, he got a job at the State Farmer’s Market Restaurant and was exercising regularly and really started to look so much better. Then, when he completed the program and got his Silver Chip at the transition ceremony that he was a part of, that was a wonderful moment. It was really awesome to hear him and all of the guys go through their experiences.
We can’t express how wonderful Healing Transitions is, we’re just so happy that there is a place for people to go, and if they want to make a change, they can. And it’s great that HT is open 24/7 because when someone needs help and makes that decision, you have to take them right then and there.
Things have been wonderful since he completed the program. We’ve gotten to see him do the things he loves with the people that he loves. It was a big moment when he moved back in with us before his wedding. At the time he was five years into his recovery.
Laura – To be honest, it was a little scary for us. When he lived with us and was using, we constantly feared the worst, so having him back brought a lot of those feelings back. To help ease our minds, we put him in a different bedroom than his old one just to change things up. The longer he stayed with us, though, those fears definitely went away.
We are just so proud of what he has accomplished. He’s worked so hard to get to the point where he’s at now. He’s recently gotten married and plans to start a family of his own. He is a great person, we love him and are excited about his future. We’ve got the chance to meet a lot of guys who came through the program with him and see the way they really look up to Christopher. It’s the way people always had looked up to him, even when he was in elementary school because he’s an honest person who will always give you an honest answer.
Theodore – I enjoy getting to work with him and seeing him at the depot. I’m so proud of him and can say that from our point of view as his parents, our relationship is stronger today because we have grown together through this experience. We will always walk with him down any path. We’re very grateful and thankful of God for this blessing – everything is under God’s power and we must thank Him for everything we have been given.
Join Healing Transitions as we try to raise $235,000 in December to fund the 3,179 additional beds of shelter and detox we’ve provided this year! Find out how you can help out HERE!