When I got to the recovery house yesterday, I cried. Big, air-gulping sobs, the kind that take your breath away and make you picture spring flowers and puppies to try to calm down.
I knew she was leaving. But it hit me like a tornado…. which is what she was like when she moved in, six months ago.
LS had been a resident for just a few days when I came on staff at the women’s house. She had relapsed nearly a year before, gotten herself help and came to us to detox off her medication and be closer to her son.
Recovery makes for strange bedfellows, I find. We appeared to have nothing in common as we navigated our first week together. She had been dealt some tough cards in her time, lived through traumas I probably still don’t know the bulk of, had buried friends and sworn off family. I probably looked ridiculous to her, as she shook and sweated and smoked through ugly detox in those first few days- I entered the house in my yoga clothes, touting the benefits of meditation and self-care. Neither one of us knew how close a bond we would forge in the coming months.
I don’t know when we bonded, probably over tacos one night in the kitchen, when I fed her and let my guard down enough to share some of my truths. We weren’t so different, then, it seemed…. fierce women who were loyal and determined and brutally honest. Adults who had finally had enough, who wanted more out of life than just survival.
And so, here we are, after six months of hard work, school and jobs and recovery meetings and therapy that HURT…. I cried because I was watching LS pack her things, and head home to a new apartment, new career, reunited with her kids….. ready and eager to leave the nest we’d spent all winter tending.
I was warned about working in recovery. People told me how hard it would be to watch people relapse, live through trauma, handle the outside worlds judgments. I get that. No one told me that I’d meet a sister, help her grow and then have to say goodbye.
I’m crying as I write this. Perhaps bigger tears than yesterday. But truly happy tears. I know that she is ready to take on the next phase of her journey. I know that she will continue to grow and help others, and that our part of each other’s journeys are etched in our souls forever.
We do recover. We are stronger together.
Written by Theresa, House Manager/Supervisor at 63 Washington. We love success!