Kathy Lang found SMART Recovery during her son’s eight-year addiction to opioids, an addiction that, like those of many others, started when he was prescribed hydrocodone after a major surgery.
Kathy was a social worker by training and profession but had no formal training in addiction. And when she couldn’t help her son, it was an extremely painful experience for her.
Kathy and her husband were completely overwhelmed.
“What I heard from others, professionals included, was that he had to hit ‘rock bottom,’” said Kathy. “And I believed it.”
Her son continued with his addiction and eventually ended up in jail. Kathy thought he had, at last, hit “rock bottom” and it appeared that he had come to the realization that he wanted to change his life. He returned to their home and attended a treatment program. His recovery was going well. Eventually he moved out, started working… and then he relapsed.
Kathy and her husband were, once again, heartbroken, and they were now living with the fear that they would get the call informing them that he had overdosed. Kathy was hoping for the day she would get the call saying that he was ready to give up opioids.
“We got the call,” she said. “And he’s been in recovery almost nine years.”
Her Son’s Recovery
While attending an inpatient treatment program, Kathy’s son was required to supplement his treatment by attending daily support group meetings. This treatment center was ahead of the curve, however, in not insisting that those meetings be traditional 12-step programs.
“The fact that my son survived his eight-year addiction to opioids is, in part, due to SMART Recovery,” said Kathy.
When her son found SMART Recovery, he introduced it to his family.
Kathy was very excited to learn about the sound psychological foundation the SMART program used with regard to Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT). After researching it, she became a big fan and advocate of the program.
Spreading the SMART Love
Kathy contacted SMART Recovery in 2013 wanting to get involved in helping other families whose loved ones were struggling with addiction. She began facilitating Family & Friends meetings through the SMART Recovery online community.
Kathy has also become a strong enthusiast for the SMART Recovery Family & Friends program in her community and around the country. During a presentation she recently gave at the 2019 SMART Recovery National Conference, she stated:
“With the pain of addiction, family members are broken and terrified. Many have lost a loved one. They’re living in utter confusion about how to help their loved ones and damaging their own lives in pursuit of trying to manage their loved one’s addiction, floundering the same as I did.
“So many people are still struggling to find help. And something we have learned is that it’s critical to provide that help early (the opposite of letting them hit rock bottom) before relationships with their loved ones have been poisoned by fear, anger, pain, and suffering. So let’s try to make the future one where we can provide more answers for more families before it’s too late.”
Everyone deserves a chance at recovery. That includes those individuals with addiction, as well as their family members and friends who love them and want them to recover.
Kathy told us, “Here at SMART, we know we are doing what is sorely lacking in other approaches to helping families. We know this because our participants tell us. But the only reward worth having for having done good work yesterday and today is the chance to do better work tomorrow. And better work we need to do. The truth is we are helping very few in proportion to the need.”
Your special year-end gift equips more parents, partners, and friends with the help they need to overcome addiction, enjoy better health, and build meaningful and fulfilling lives together. And, in the case of Kathy Lang and many others, it creates a ripple effect that positively impacts many others in their communities and beyond.