How a Christmas in rehab brought one family closer
At HPUMC, we believe that alcohol and drug addiction is a disease that can lead to devastating social, economic, spiritual, and physical consequences for individuals, families, and entire communities.
We support individuals struggling with this disease through groups and studies, referrals, staff support, and community. We also provide care and support for loved ones and families of addicts.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction or believes they might be, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Recovery Coordinator, Jenny Misslin, at 214-523-2242.
Like many families, being together is an essential part of the Smith* family’s Christmas day tradition. They typically dress in their Christmas pajamas, open presents, and go skiing.
One year, however, was drastically different.
Susan Smith’s daughter, Jane, was a freshman in college when she began to struggle with depression, alcohol, and her mental health. Before long, Jane was in rehab, working to recover.
The rehab center was in a different state, and Jane wasn’t allowed to come home for Christmas. This broke the hearts of the entire Smith family. However, they decided to write letters to her.
“We all tried to be positive and let her know that she was where she needed to be, and that we had many more Christmases ahead of us,” Susan said.
In rehab, Jane cried over the outpouring of support she felt in these letters. She had imagined that her family was having a normal, happy holiday season without her, but the letters showed just how much they were thinking about her and missing her.
On Christmas day, the entire Smith family had the opportunity to talk on the phone for a short time with Jane, which meant a lot to all of them.
As for gifts, the rehab center had a fixed price that the Smith family wasn’t allowed to exceed, so Susan got creative. She surprised her daughter with a knitted blanket that Jane had started before going to rehab and Susan had finished.
Jane loved the hand-knitted blanket because she could curl up with it and feel the love of her family in it.
Through this difficult time, the Smith family’s idea of the “perfect Christmas” changed.
“We realized that change is okay as long as we’re celebrating the birth of Jesus together,” Susan said.
“Sometimes life isn’t perfect,” Jane said. “You just have to make the best of the situation and not take your family for granted.”
In fact, instead of getting upset at where she was that Christmas, Jane found comfort in the friendships that she made at the rehab center. “It was definitely a different experience,” she said.
That Christmas season brought their entire family closer and made them appreciate one another’s presence even more.
Now, Jane counsels adult women with addictions, encouraging them to stay mentally and physically healthy.
During the holidays, she always takes the time to step back and thank God for her family.
And still to this day, she has the letters that her family sent to her that Christmas.
*The names in this story have been changed to keep those involved anonymous.