Point of View: There can be hope for recovery from addiction — lots of hope

As of Aug. 2, 2018, Megan has been in recovery for five years. We have had our daughter back for 1,821 days. According to our professional interventionist, Megan’s recovery is miraculous, from where she was to where she is today, a miracle. Where she was seems a lifetime ago, feels a lifetime ago.

Our family has been in the busy process of re-connecting, building trust, making new memories and understanding who we were then and learning who we are now. Each of us, in our own way, became one of the broken, the hopeless, the lost. We will never be who we were.

Our family has come to a profound understanding of unconditional love, family love, self-love and the delicate balance of these understandings and addiction. It is a continual process of learning and a willingness to be honest with ourselves and with each other. Megan’s recovery,and our family’s recovery, is a miracle in a myriad of ways but what it really came down to is that we each individually made a decision to change.

Aug. 18, 2018, Megan was married, a day she has dreamed about since she was 3 years old while wearing princess dresses and spinning around the living room to the beat of her own music. The wedding was traditional in many ways, but in the end, it was a celebration of Megan’s recovery, her now husband’s recovery, the entire wedding party’s recovery.

The rehearsal dinner was hosted as a Celebrate Recovery event in which no alcohol was served,no drug use allowed. Interestingly enough, several people had concerns about this. Questions came up such as, “Where will we get our drinks?” or “Please clarify how we can have our cocktails?”

We assured those attending that there was a restaurant with a bar around the corner and they were welcome to visit there before the event or after, but to honor the wedding party, their significant others and the bride and groom, we asked that they refrain during the two-hour event. The Celebrate Recovery rehearsal dinner was a success, lots of fun and didn’t wrap up until three hours later. Most importantly the wedding allowed an opportunity for Megan’s integration back into the larger family, a sister-to-sister re-connection, a family reunion that 10 years ago we never dreamed possible.

Rob and I debated about this wedding, the cost, haven’t we done enough already, the effort, would it be worth it, can we do it, should we do it.

Rob with his usual clarity finally said, “Yes, we need to do this. We don’t know what may happen tomorrow. We have Megan in our lives today. I want to celebrate that. I want that memory.”

We never looked back from that point. Megan, Rob, Madalyn and I got to host a dream wedding. Our family felt whole that day, still feels whole, and we will never forget how important this is to us.

In our experiences, Rob and I have come to believe that we all know someone affected by the complex and complicated disease that is drug addiction. Our community has changed due to the increase of active addiction. Our country has changed.

We are losing sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers and grandparents to this disease, a disease that destroys the ability to make choices. A disease that tells the brain the drug is as important as breathing air and nothing else matters.

Rob and I have also come to believe that there is hope. Lots of hope. Our story changed lives. Your stories can change lives.

There are many community members who want to hear what we all have to say and have a genuine desire to change lives too.

Rob and I want to personally thank the Homer News,the Southern Kenai Peninsula Opioid Task Force, the Bearded Sister, the AA, NA, AI-Anon, Coda groups and to all community members/groups who work tirelessly for the health and benefit of all who live in Alaska. A big shout out to our beloved Parent-To­ Parent support group. Never give up hope.

Annie and Rob Wiard have lived in Homer since 1984 and have two daughters, Madalyn and Megan.

They started and facilitate a support group for parents of children who are in active addiction or in recovery. Grandparents and guardians are welcome. The group meets 3-4 p.m. Saturdays at the Homer United Methodist Church.