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Don’t quit five minutes before the miracle. When parents attend their first meeting at PAL or any other support group, they often come in with a range of feelings and mindsets (denial, guilt, anger, etc.), but what all parents have in common when they reach out for help is at least a thread of hope (no matter how big or small) that their child will sober up. Deep down parents cannot imagine giving up on their child. They are looking for a miracle.

This glimmer of hope is a great starting point. Parents at PAL groups often feel the relief of their first meetings and finding others who have walked in their shoes. They realize that they are not alone, and they begin taking the steps they must take to start their own recovery. Sometimes the initial feelings of hope grow quickly – or not – and they begin to see the changes and embrace them and the hope grows that their loved one will get back to a life without drugs or alcohol abuse. 

Another possibility is that these same parents may continue to attend meetings and see the miracle of recovery happening around them. They hear stories of the other parents whose sons or daughters are sobering up and the relief this brings. Interestingly, people respond in different ways. Sometimes seeing others getting better can bring on a feeling of discouragement instead of hope, particularly when a parent has been attending for a while without much change in their situation. A parent may begin to compare and ask themselves why these miracles of sobriety aren’t happening in their own family. The trouble with this mindset creeping in is that it can tempt us to stop doing the things that allow us to be a part of the solution and to receive the unexpected miracles that take place no matter the circumstance of the addict.

My point: Stick around and use the solutions you learn, give them time to work! Hang in there through ups and downs as they are all a part of the journey. If you have been attending for a while and are still waiting to experience a miracle, don’t give up, be patient with yourself and with others. Addiction didn’t happen overnight, and recovery may not either. You may be surprised how much good is to come of your journey. As we tell those suffering from addiction all the time, “Don’t quit five minutes before the miracle!” There are families just like you all over the country who are recovering every day, it can happen for you too.

Josh Azevedo is a guest blogger for PAL and is the Executive Director at The Pathway Program, https://thepathwayprogram.com