I received word while out of town yesterday, that Samantha Ryann Bates, my great niece, was on her way. Whatever else I had planned for the afternoon went on hold as I made the two hour pilgrimage from Millidgeville, Georgia to Spalding Regional Medical Center.
Driving from Millidgeville to Griffin I was struck with the many times my family had gathered there for such rites of passage, not always happy occasions. My last reciprocal communication with Mama happened there, the night before she experienced the final stoke that forever ended her ability to share her feelings with us. A few days later we met there to accompany her to Hospice; I had not accepted what life would drive home only a few days later.
Nine months later my brother and I were present when we lost Dad there. We held each other in tears, aware that our lives had changed forever. As I drove from Millidgeville to Griffin, the one constant of which I was aware was family.
Family is consistent; family is history. Through grief, new birth, life and death we meet as a group to morn and celebrate, to say goodbye and to say hello to a new member. The years pass, as the same secure union offers support in sorrow and joy.
Probably the most destructive force of addiction is its tearing down and breaking apart of the family unit. How many times during active addiction did you simply not make an appearance for such important rites of passage or fail to be a source of support for others during them? How often did you avoid family in order to conceal the extent of your substance dependence, or to avoid family awareness of some other destructive undercurrent present in your life.
Recovery offers the ability to be present and emotionally alert to experience the awesomeness of family ritual. Recovery supports the security and consistency of family unity, and when you consider the sheer quality that offers, it alone is reason enough to choose sobriety.