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The Path to "Success" isn't Linear

Supporting the Journey of Family Recovery



For the first time in 4 years, my family spent Thanksgiving together in our home. Both of my kids were here, and both were healthy. For many years, this was not an option for us. We had holidays that we visited our son where he was living, and seasons when we met him where he was existing - with a plate of food and a hug.

While this year might be labeled as a success by many, I realize that those other years were also a success. The yard stick of measurement was a little different, but we had intentional connection with boundaries that allowed everyone to be their best in the short moments that we did share. They were a success because love was given and received. And the human experience was honored.


Leading up to Thanksgiving, my son spent 10 weeks at home with us working on building out a van with his dad. He had purchased a police transport van and had plans to build it into a livable vehicle. Over those 10 weeks, the van project changed and molded into something a little different than his original vision. My son beamed with pride over the finished project that was created by him, with many hours of blood sweat and tears. What he ended up creating is a really cool camper that is not yet finished (he ran out of money), but was built to his vision and beams in the pride of his determination and resilience. Much like the 2 1/2 years of meaningful recovery that he has also built.


My son decided that he would not stay to spend Christmas with us. He was able to express that "It was just too much" to stay. While I missed having him home, success to him is valuing what he needs to do to keep himself healthy and happy. That is his yardstick, not mine.


The recovery journey is much like this van project. Beginning with a used and scuffed transport van, big ideas gathered with lots of input from others, and adjustment after adjustment after adjustment to plans as the reality of the cost, time and work involved sinks in. In the end, what my son has is a something that he can enjoy now and build on in the future. Something that might seem home made and low budget for many but to him represents saving, intention, hard work and valuable connection with his dad. What he has is pride in the path and and road to his success.


The path to "success" is not linear and many times does not look in the end anything like the initial vision. That does't mean that what someone holds today is not "success".


Here is a beautiful video that I believe represents the crooked road to "success" for so many struggling with substance use disorder. I hope that this year you too can find moments to celebrate along the path.




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