The Language of Recovery

Early in my first pregnancy,  it seemed that everyone was talking about babies.  And there were pregnant women everywhere…all of the sudden.  Or at least, that was my perception.  Pregnancy is scary and exciting.  There is so much joy involved that it spills over and people want to rub your belly and tell you about their first pregnancy or their sixth.  Tall tales get spun from martyred mothers everywhere who spent record hours in labor before the perfect child entered the world.


You know it is true.





I think this happens every time that you begin a new chapter in life.  When you get your first job.  When you get married.  Later, when your parents get older.  It also happens for those struck by disease or disaster.  All of the sudden, you become aware of the conversations about your current situation in life.




However, when a loved one is suffering from an addiction or mental illness, we often speak in code.  We have a language that is subtle.  It isn’t hiding exactly; it just lurks in the shadows.  My feelings about this topic are ambivalent.  I am appreciative that the veil exists when a new parent comes in feeling lost, alone and full of shame and needs time and space for healing.  I like that each person can choose how much he or she shares.

But, the idea that we need to hide because of the judgment really frustrates me.

Since ‘working my program’ , I realize that we are all addicted to one thing or another.  We are all broken.  I once read that the percentage of dysfunctional families was in the nineties.  I always assumed that I was in a big block of ‘normal folks’…until I knew better.  So, we all need recovery.  Most of us, just don’t know it yet.

Anyway, I was reading a novel yesterday.  The author, Fredrik Backman, is from Sweden and this is only his second book.  I loved his first book, “A Man Called Ove”.  His second book, “My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry” was a delight to read.  It is the story of an unusual grandmother and the strong bond she shares with her unusual granddaughter and all of the odd people who live in their circle.  It is a book that speaks my language.

Check it out here

At the books conclusion, tucked into the epilogue, I read this paragraph:

“And they do what they can.  Try to learn to live with themselves, try to live rather than just existing.  They go to meetings.  They tell their stories.  No one knows if this is the way they are going to mend everything that’s broken inside them, but at least it’s a way towards something.  It helps them to breathe.”

and I knew why this book spoke to me so clearly.  It is because whether intentional or not, the writer speaks the language of recovery.  He doesn’t have to say what kind of meetings.  I now know that failing to accept powerlessness lies at the heart of all of our problems.  It’s just one step, but it’s a mighty important one.

I think recovery might be everywhere too.  We just need the courage to find it.

About The Author

Jean Heaton

I am a daughter, sister, aunt, mother and probably most notoriously, ‘the Vet’s wife’.


  1. Jonnetta Brown | 31st Mar 16

    From one mother to another who has watched addiction steal the life of their son, daughter or family member and has lost sleep many nights, cried, prayed, worried, and almost lost hope this book is one more we need to help heal us.
    Only one can learn from one that has been through the fire and come out still standing.
    Thank you Jean for sharing your heart.

    • Jean Heaton | 1st Apr 16

      Thank you Jonnetta. You have suffered more than any mother should ever have to. I hope that my experience and hope can help others. I know that you are an excellent model of faith for so many. God bless you and all that you do.

  2. Diane Bickett Haulk | 31st Mar 16

    I am looking forward to reading your book. Thank you for sharing.

    • Jean Heaton | 1st Apr 16

      Thanks Diane. I appreciate you taking the time to read.

  3. TaJuana Davis | 2nd Apr 16

    So proud for your finished work. From one author to another I know the relief you must be feeling to have FINALLY completed this stage that will not only help you to move toward healing, but also the joy in having hope others who read your message can move toward healing. Then, from one mother of two sons who struggled with addictions to another, I also understand your heavy heart and desire to reach others who may find a smoother path in walking alongside our children through their recovery.
    Lord Bless,

    • Jean Heaton | 2nd Apr 16


      Thanks so much. I can only hope that this work speaks to those who need to hear. Finding myself at ‘the bottom’ was where I truly found God. That is the paradox of living as a companion of Christ.

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