Family addiction made moving to college scary for me. When I made the decision to go to a college over one thousand miles from home, I didn’t think I was trying to run from anything. In fact, being far from a family with addiction issues was my primary concern.
I Was Used To Taking Care Of Others
Growing up in a family where two people suffer from addictions, I was constantly putting them before me. I would come home from school hoping they’d be awake, and if they weren’t I’d pray they were at least breathing. Life was a cycle of making sure they were OK, making sure the dishes got done before my mom came home from a long day of work, taking the food they were cooking out of the oven before it started to burn because they forgot about it, and failed attempts to plead with them to stay sober for a night.
They Are Now In Recovery But Worrying Never Stops
Being a thousand miles away actually made it harder. Every day I would call to check in, hoping for the best but expecting the worst.On numerous occasions I’ve thought, “My family needs me, I can’t be so far from them, they need my help,” etc., etc.; more than once I’ve considered taking time off from school to stay home and help around the house. That’s not ideal for me.
I Had Become Co-Dependent
The truth is that they can function without me, and I can also function without them — in reality, I’m the one that had become codependent. It took moving away to college to prove this to me. In fact, I believe that’s why I made the decision in the first place. I needed to develop a sense of my own independence, acknowledging that both my family and myself will be OK even when we’re apart.
Their Addiction Shouldn’t Be My Problem
As a 19 year old, my responsibility shouldn’t be to constantly worry about my family. My job right now is to work hard and excel in school, and hopefully have some fun and gain a better sense of who I am in the process. I’m now able to dedicate time to myself, not only to heal but to grow, as well. I still call home almost every day, but instead of asking if everything is alright at home, I let my family ask me how I’m doing instead.
With so much of my young self being defined by the people around me, I’m finally learning to be defined by myself alone.
Reach Out Recovery Exclusive by College Intern Maggie