One of the things I have learnt in recovery is just how much love and support there is for me from my family – although I haven’t always been able to see it.
And it turns out the same goes for the animal kingdom too.
At Withersdane Hall our grounds are home to scores of creatures – birds of various species, bunnies, foxes, badgers and even the odd stray cat.
And of course our flock of chickens which lay fresh eggs for breakfast every morning.
Last week one of our resident animal experts, the aptly named Bear, came across an injured crow, limping weakly around the grass.
He took it inside to safety and there it stayed for several days, being fed, watered and nursed back to health by Bear and his colleague Katie.
Once the crow, which the team named Odin, had regained its strength, Bear and Katie and a gathering of onlookers set out to the field at the back of Withersdane and released Odin into the air.
The crow flapped furiously and made it about halfway across the field before crash landing onto the grass. It was a good attempt but after a period of not using his wings, he had become unaccustomed to using his wings.
We watched for several minutes as Odin squawked from the ground, waiting to see what he would do. Then two large crows, Odin’s mother and father, Bear explained, and a smaller one, which was surely a sibling, swooped over and answered his cries.
They circled around, dropping slightly but never reaching the ground, which Bear said was their way of showing Odin what he needed to do. If we could speak bird Bear said we would be hearing words of encouragement being offered to the fallen family member.
Bear explained that crow babies stay with their mothers and fathers for longer than most other birds. In situations like this one, he told us the family would stay with Odin for several days to nurse him and bring him food, all the while trying to boost him back to flight.
It was a beautiful snapshot of the animal kingdom at work and to me a clear example of the often unnoticed ways our families try to help us.
Looking back at my time in active addiction and the 10 weeks I have spent in recovery since coming to Withersdane, I can now see the desperation my parents and sister faced at seeing the harm I was doing to myself.
Addiction wants you on your own, isolated from the world. But it is not a one person disease. It affects everyone around the addict in a multitude of ways.
I feel so grateful and blessed to still have the love and support of my amazing family. Today I am in a position where I look forward to their visits and can’t wait to get on the phone to them and tell them about my day.
It’s the little things in life that sometimes matter the most.
And for that, just for today, I am truly grateful.
Laura, Withersdane Volunteer