– Written by Elizabeth Tipton, The Next Generation Board Member
Like many people, I have seen the impact of drug and alcohol addiction on friends and family. Addiction can wreak havoc on an individual and everyone whose lives they touch. I have also seen the amazing healing and transformation that recovery can bring. Fifteen years ago this month, an immediate family member went into treatment for alcohol addiction. At that point, I thought that our family was ruined–textbook dysfunctional. We would never be able to relate or interact in a loving, healthy way, and my personal relationship was irrevocably damaged; I would always resent them for the pain they had caused and for the responsibility I had to take in their absence. It’s one thing to say you’re ready to make a change and check into treatment. It’s another thing entirely to change who you are. It was going to take some serious growth for me to consider making myself vulnerable again.
We spent Christmas 2004 visiting our loved one in treatment, and although only a few weeks into recovery, I was blown away by the change. Accountability and honesty took the place of resentment and hostility. It sounds hokey and too good to be true, but after that trip it was as if we were all distilled down to the people we were meant to be. Over the following weeks, months, and years, our family healed and adopted a new way to interact with each other. The foundations that treatment and recovery provide have enabled my whole family to live much more openly, respectfully, and gratefully. What a blessing we have received through the teachings of recovery and the twelve-step program.
I was asked to be one of the founding members of the Next Generation, TND’s young professional board, in the fall of 2016. I thought that joining TNG of TND would be a great way to give back to a process and program that has given me such love and clarity over the last fifteen years. After serving as the board Vice President last year and President this year, I have certainly volunteered my time to TND. But I have gained so much more from this group that I can ever repay. I have learned so much from my fellow board members. This is a group of women who are doers. They come to our bimonthly meetings ready to serve, filled with ideas of how to give back to the wider Next Door community. They volunteer their time with clients on Saturday nights and spend time showering the staff with gratitude. The Next Generation started hosting an annual songwriters night last year as a fundraiser for TND. I could not be more proud to serve with this group of women and am grateful to The Next Door for bringing us together.