If you are a parent, a child, a wife, a husband, any family member, a friend, or anyone other than a castaway on a remote island, you have created collateral damage if you are an addict. (And maybe even if you are a castaway on a remote island.)

You, the addict, are not the only one affected by your addiction. But no matter how severe the damage to relationships or to your own life, all these take a backseat when you are actively in your addiction. Nothing else matters except the next time you can use, and so the damage spreads far and wide. Broken homes, estrangement from spouses and children, jail time and entering the most degrading of lifestyles is common. But hear me now: recovery is within the grasp of those who want it. No matter how long the addiction, no matter how severe the addiction, no matter what. Remember the door opens for those who knock. The repairing can not only begin for yourself but also for whomever else who may want to give you another chance.

The effect of collateral damage is so far reaching that reliable statistics are not available. Attendance at Al-Anon and other meetings for family members and friends are filled to the max all the time. Some damage is repairable, but sorry to say, some is not. This is hard to accept, but there are sometimes consequences to our behavior that we may not like.

Some of the time the damage can be so severe that regaining trust may never be given to you. And perhaps you actually have used up every single last chance with some others. But let’s be really clear here, no matter what, you have not used up your last chance with yourself.
The opportunities to get clean are limitless. Even users of many years have had successes. I have seen it firsthand. People have come into recovery after decades of using, after decades of not knowing any other way to live. These brave souls have learned a way to live that is better, happier, and braver. I have seen it time after time, and I have seen these recoverees now helping others. Trust that this can be you.

You have every element, every component, every ingredient that anyone else has and who have remained in a lasting recovery.

Never be ashamed to come to treatment one more time. Never think you are too far gone, never think you are without hope. Speak to the veterans in the meetings, and you will be sure to find any number of old timers who have the stories to tell. They will let you know they have been where you are and that you can get to where they are. So yes, you will not be where you were, and you will not yet be where you are going to be, but here is the good news . . . you’re on your way! Rejoice.