Answer: How so many of us have Damaging Misconceptions around Recovery!
Each time she entered rehab, she has succeeded at sobriety, for a period of time, one more time. Stood up to her demons for a moment longer. Felt hopeful one more time.
Recovery from an addiction is an ongoing, sometimes minute by minute, process; not an instantaneous change of ones' mind and miraculously - poof - They're Addiction Free.
It has become my mission to teach - from my lived experience - that addiction is a disease that follows the same process as any other chronic illness of relapse and remission and to also eliminate the stigma of failure when an addict determines they need to return to rehab, or in Lindsay's case, is court ordered to return.
Compounding an addicts' feelings of failure with negative judgement does nothing but confirm what they are trying to convince themselves of in the first place; that they have failed. Such negativity can, and sadly often does, lead to the addict returning to the familiar and rewarding behaviour in order to feel good again.
What of the fact that they had been strong enough to stay clean for a period of time. A month, a day and even an hour is not failure - it's the beginning of recovery. Recognition of their accomplishment however big or small, or at the absolute very least, not supporting their feelings of failure, reinforces and supports their capability to fight and beat this chronic illness.
I learned the hard way that Addiction is a Chronic Disease
As I was faced with reconsidering my position regarding my daughter's recovery from her addiction, I had to ask myself: How would I expect others to react to me if my Cancer returned or I had another attack of Multiple Sclerosis that took my sight or my ability to walk from me?
I don't believe Jac consciously set out to be a mother that was more invested in being high than the welfare of her girls, but at the time, in my ignorance of the disease of addiction, I showed no compassion towards her as an addict. Neither did I have an eduction in addiction. Instead of working with her, I worked against her and became instrumental in having her girls removed from her care. I believed that that was the right thing to do for the children given the circumstances and conditions they were living under. I did it understanding it would also be the worst thing that could ever happen to my daughter and could in all likelihood turn out to be her undoing. I did little to ensure that Jac received the support and tools she needed for her recovery other than to demand from her that she get clean, ... or else. I held the threat of her children over her head, thinking that would be her inspiration to get clean. I thought she could simply change her mind. I thought she could do it all by herself. I thought it was as easy as that and... I was wrong.
What would my approach have been, I often wonder, if I had found that the reason my grandchildren had been neglected was that my daughter's disease was Cancer or MS, like myself, rather than addiction. Because I understand how each of those conditions had affected me, her lack of care for her children would have been understood and excused. She would not have been afraid to seek out or ask me for help with her childrens' care. I believe she would not have feared seeking help for herself either. My lack of education and the stigma that I, and society, associated with her disease - addiction - interfered with my providing her and her children with the compassionate care that anyone suffering a chronic illness deserves.