The coming of spring holds a deeper importance for patients at Serenity Recovery treatment center In the town of Marne in Central Michigan. The winters can sometimes be a little harsh, and may seem to stretch out forever. But, as with everything, winter eventually comes to an end and spring starts to make itself known. Birds are returning, flowers are poking up through the ground, and trees are growing new buds on them. Earth has made another trip through its life cycle and is being reborn once more while all of nature takes part in celebrating new life.
Aside from the changes in weather and landscape, one of the more traditional signs that the spring months are upon us is the coming of Easter Sunday, a holiday that, although rooted in the Christian faith, is also widely cherished for the brightly colored eggs and the fabled Easter Bunny that also make up part of the traditions of this holiday. The childlike innocence of enjoying such a holiday, with its egg hunts and baskets filled with chocolate and toys, sadly is lost on those who are struggling with addiction.
Memories of Happier Days
When someone is struggling in the depths of active addiction, there is no concern for such things as family gatherings or holiday celebrations. Every day is exactly the same as the next, and the only concern is the drugs or the drink. But, much like the change from winter to spring, where the earth is given new life and slowly comes out of the cold, gray months into warmth and color, recovery from addiction is a renewal of the body, mind, and spirit – where we were once isolated and alone, we begin to find appreciation for our world and those in it.
In observance of Easter Sunday, which fell on March 27h this year, patients at Serenity Recovery participated in that most traditional of all Easter traditions, dying eggs with vibrant colors. Gathered around tables in our common room, the patients were all smiles and laughs, making jokes and enjoying each others’ company. Of course, no Easter egg coloring project could be complete without the traditional Egg Hunt. For some of our patients, the best part was feeling that same joy that they felt as kids on days like this.
“I haven’t actually gotten to decorate eggs in a while,” says Dillon K., “so, I really, really enjoyed that – brought me back to my childhood. Lot of fond memories.” He is beginning to discover the joy of the simple things in life that he had forgotten through his addiction.
As they passed the eggs around that were waiting to be colored, and as they ran together over the Serenity Recovery facility grounds searching for more, there was a deepening feeling of togetherness, and of home. While they have been working through their treatment program, offering each other strength and support, they have grown close with each other. These are bonds that will last a lifetime, and their peers become something of a second family.
“It was really nice,” says Alycia D. “It kind of reminded me of being home, and the Easter Egg Hunt, it was just hilarious and fun at the same time. It’s good to see people having fun. It was just a really good time.” These deep personal connections will go a long way in the recovery process.
Learning to Form Lasting Friendships
Throughout their addiction, many of our patients had plenty of “friends”, but these relationships formed around getting high or drunk, and were usually shaky at best. Others had isolated themselves completely, and almost all of them had damaged any truly meaningful relationships they may have had through the decisions that resulted from their altered perceptions. In recovery, we learn how to form and maintain meaningful, healthy, and functioning relationships again. The friendships that our patients find with each other can last a lifetime, and they will serve as the framework for a strong support network that they will need as they transition back into daily life after graduation.
While the egg coloring and hunting that went on that day was a celebration of the Easter holiday on the surface, there was yet another cause for celebration that day. Just as Easter signifies the coming of the warmer spring months and the return of sunshine and color to the world, this was a celebration of the journey that our patients make from the cold, gray, and lonely existence of addiction into a life full of happiness, health, and peace. It was a celebration of a renewed appreciation for others, and for the important role that each of us plays in the lives of one another. It was a rediscovery of the pure joy and hope that they had lost through addiction, and a realization of the strength within to break free from that prison.