My detour to happiness.
Dr. Andrea Arlington is a
Family Recovery and Relationship Coach and Case Manager for families and loved ones seeking recovery from addiction. She is a Speaker, online course creator, and author of the forthcoming book,
"REVELATIONS OF A BAD MOM"
How to Unf*ck Up your life
You may have faced immense challenges throughout your life, just as I have. Perhaps you've experienced the difficulties of living with family members who struggle with mental health issues, trauma, and addictions to substances like drugs, alcohol, or sex. It can be an arduous journey. And in the midst of that struggle, you may have also battled your own mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, co-dependency, or addictive behaviors.
Back in 2013, when my marriage ended, it was a pivotal moment for me. Challenges in life give us an opportunity to discover who we really want to be and how we want to show up in the world. I like to ask myself in these moments, "Okay, who do I want to be now, and how can I show up being the best version of myself? Our challenges can become our greatest opportunities to discover whats really truly important and how we want to live moving forward.
Becoming the greatest version of myself meant accepting that I had work to do on my mental and emotional health. I needed help. For a long time, I blamed others for the difficulties in my life and the pain I experienced. But over the next three years, through working closely with experts and attending transformative courses, I had a profound realization. Many of the challenges I faced were a result of my own choices, and I needed to take responsibility for my actions.
You see, the power to feel safe and secure rests within you, just as it did within me. I witnessed this empowering truth in the incredible women I worked alongside, who had triumphed over similar struggles. To find inner peace and happiness, it became essential for me to prioritize my mental health and shed the negative beliefs I held about myself.
That's when my personal growth journey began. I made a commitment to learn vital communication skills, study trauma, dismantle toxic beliefs and behaviors, and incrementally improve my mental well-being. Whenever people asked me what I was recovering from, I would often respond, "Myself." My life was once a painful mess, and hope seemed elusive. But with the guidance of those who had walked a similar path, I started to embark on the journey of self-discovery.
Gradually I learned to love and accept myself unconditionally, extending forgiveness to both myself and others, and releasing the weight of judgment associated with my past. Beneath all the chaos, I discovered a deep-seated inner peace. It was a feeling of genuine safety and relaxation I had never experienced before. Instead of being co-dependent, I found strength in my abilities and fostered healthy relationships while staying true to myself.
Over several years, I dedicated myself to acquiring skills and certifications that have transformed my life. I immersed myself in effective communication techniques, delved into the intricacies of relationships, and deepened my understanding of trauma, recovery, and treatment approaches. I even obtained a license as a minister.
Now, armed with my extensive training and personal experiences, I have found true fulfillment in my career as a family recovery and relationship coach. And I'm here to tell you that you too can embark on your own transformative journey. I specialize in guiding and supporting parents, couples, families and individuals, just like you, as you navigate your unique path.
I'm eager to share the tools and strategies I've gained from my understanding of addiction and recovery, empowering you to pursue personal growth and create harmonious relationships.
Reflecting on my own incredible journey of transformation, I've come to realize that recovery and personal growth are not exclusive privileges. They are possibilities for everyone, including you. I stand before you as a compassionate guide, ready to offer assistance and guidance as you navigate your own path.
Drawing from my own experiences, I'm committed to making a positive difference in your life, utilizing the knowledge I've acquired to help you heal and grow. Remember, you're not alone on this journey. Together, we can create a brighter future.
You don’t have to do it alone.
We cannot wait for our loved ones to hit bottom.
Currently we are losing 302 people each day to overdose.
When I was 21 years old, something truly heartbreaking happened to me. I lost my younger brother, Ben. He was just 17 at the time. It was really tough for our family because Ben got caught up in a dangerous world of using drugs through needles. It felt like our hearts were breaking into a million pieces.
But that wasn't the only time addiction touched my life. I also had the painful experience of being married to men who had trouble with drugs. In the middle of all this, I became a mom to my beautiful daughter. Early in her life her best friend became like family to us too. Sadly, both of them got pulled into the dark and scary world of heroin addiction.
It was like living a nightmare that went on for years. I felt so desperate and tried to save them, to fix everything and take control of their lives. But in trying to help, I unintentionally made things worse and drove a wedge between us. Over time, I became full of resentment and anger because they were out of control and getting into a lot of trouble.
I yelled, screamed, and said critical and hurtful things. I was overwhelmed and didn't deal with my own feelings properly and took it all out on them and my other family members. I was terribly co-dependent and miserable. I felt lost, ashamed, and scared all the time. It was constant mental and emotional struggle that haunted me day and night.
There are over 20,000 people in active addiction in the U.s. and that means there are millions of parents and families out there going through the same thing. All I wanted, just like you, was to hold them close and wake them up from this nightmare.
We hit rock bottom, and our story was even shown on TV for everyone to see. The media tore our family apart when they found out about my daughter's possible involvement in some burglaries on a reality show called "Pretty Wild." We lost everything, and it hurt so much to have our privacy invaded like that.
But here's the thing, even in the darkest of times, there's a glimmer of hope. Both my daughter and her friend have managed to turn their lives around. They've been clean from heroin for almost 11 and 12 years now and they have created a healthy life for themselves and their children. It's been a long and hard journey, but they are poroof that recovery is possible.
Ours is a story about struggling, feeling pain, and going through loss. But it's also a story about being strong, growing, and finding redemption. It reminds us that even when things seem really bad, there's still hope for healing and building our lives back up.
I was completely unaware of the intricate dynamics of addiction and codependency. However, that has changed. I have gained a deep understanding of the complexities involved. I now realize that no one can face these challenges alone, especially when we operate under the mindset that has contributed to the dysfunction we find ourselves in. While Al-anon may work for some, it didn't provide me with the profound connection and real-time assistance I needed. I longed for someone who could guide me and teach me how to support my loved ones effectively.
Ironically, my personal experiences with addiction, self-medication, and codependency have led me down a path of immense fulfillment. Today, I work as a family recovery and relationship coach, specializing in assisting parents, young adults, and families who are grappling with loved ones suffering from addiction and other mental health challenges. I am here to support those who are ready to let go of ineffective approaches and seek a fresh perspective.
If the strategies you've employed thus far haven't yielded the desired results, I can offer you a new outlook. I can help you discover inner peace and embark on your own journey of recovery. I can guide you in reclaiming your sanity and rebuilding your life while becoming the beacon of hope for your child or loved one's recovery. Although there are no guarantees, studies consistently show that when one or more family members embark on their own journey of recovery, it significantly enhances their loved one's chances of overcoming addiction. Undoubtedly, you will experience immense personal growth through this transformative process.
Throughout my life, nothing has been more devastating than losing my brother and witnessing my children battle heroin addiction while feeling utterly helpless. Perhaps, like me, you feel completely clueless about how to assist your loved one, reclaim your own life, find inner peace, and breathe freely once again. However, I assure you that even amidst the chaos, the lies, the legal troubles, the loss of employment, the financial hardships, and more, you can recover. You can become your loved one's greatest ally in their journey to recovery. Every day, I witness parents and families finding their way through similar challenges, and you can too.
Remember, you are not alone. As long as there is life, there is hope!