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Friday, September 29, 2023

Maintaining Hope through Her Son’s Battle with Addiction Through Recovering Connections: Jane’s Story

This is Part III of an ongoing series highlighting Catholic Charities Boston’s programs for those with a loved one affected by substance use disorder, or those who have lost a loved one to substance use disorder, in light of October being National Substance Abuse Prevention Month.

“I don’t think I would have the strength to carry on without the support that Catholic Charities has offered me,” said Jane. *

Jane’s son has been in and out of treatment facilities for substance use disorder for seven years. As a survivor of physical assault, that occurred in an athletic facility when he was young, Jane’s son has struggled with his mental health for years–a factor that is deeply entangled with his substance abuse.

“He will be sober for a period of time, but then he relapses. It’s a disease that recurs,” Jane said.

With many rehab centers and treatment facilities at full capacity, Jane said high-quality treatment is scarce and difficult to secure, despite the severity of her son’s need.

Shortly after learning of her son’s struggles with addiction, Father Joe White, a pastor at St. Joseph’s Parish and longtime advocate for families affected by addiction, introduced Jane to Catholic Charities Boston’s Outreach Social Worker, Sister Maryadele Robinson, who met with Jane and her husband and discussed ways that Catholic Charities could help. Sister Maryadele oversees Catholic Charities Boston’s Recovering Connections program, which offers case management, support groups, and retreats to the families of those with substance use disorders.

“The retreats have become a lifeline and a rock in terms of my ability to cope.” said Jane.

“There are times when I’ve felt lost and alone, like there is no one to help, and having the group of women that I met through the program has been such a support in being able to cope with this,” she said.

Beyond providing her and her husband with resources and a strong support system, Jane said the retreats have granted her a space to step away from the chaos and reconnect with her faith.

“In addition to meals, group discussions, and more informal conversations getting to know the other women, Sister Maryadele will give a presentation on a faith topic that is pertinent, such as trusting in God,” Jane said. “It is a really beautiful format.”

Jane said that the most powerful aspect of the program is connecting, learning and growing alongside others who can understand her heartache with empathy. “We share our pain and our grief but most importantly we share our faith with each other,” said Jane. “My faith gives me hope, courage, and strength.”

*Due to the sensitive nature of the real-life experiences shared within the story clients are referred to by their first or middle names only to protect privacy.

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