Lorilee Rager is Featured on this Episode of Humans of Recovery
Lost in stories and headlines about drug and alcohol abuse is how addiction impacts children. Addiction not only clings to a person like a shadow, but it can also make its way down the family tree and leave their children at a greater risk for abuse or neglect, depression and problems with learning. That kind of impact is the “wake up” moment Lorilee Rager needed to turn her life around before her alcohol addiction caused any more damage to herself or her family.
Related: Humans of Recovery Episode 1 featuring Stacey Meredith
Drinking at the early age of 12
On May 12, 2022, Rager celebrated two years of sobriety. However, her drinking problem began at the age of 12. As she shares in episode 2 of “Humans of Recovery,” Rager grew up as an “anxious child” surrounded by a family that drank a lot.
“We just saw the adults having fun, so we wanted to have fun, too,” says Rager, who was raised on a rural farm in Kentucky.
In her own words, farm life was stressful enough, and drinking alcohol was the only time she felt complete relief and a “wave of calm.”
But Rager’s drinking habits followed her into her 30s, causing extreme pain in her body and emotional distress to her 10-year-old son.
Related: Listen to Lorilee Rager’s episode on the Landmark Recovery Podcast
Addiction’s impact on children
From 2009 to 2014, nearly one in eight American children ages 17 or younger lived in a household with at least one parent who had a past-year substance use disorder (SUD). For Rager, one of her turning points or “wake up moments” came from her 10-year-old son, who noticed how different his mother’s behavior and mood were when she drank.
“You don’t realize how tipsy you are or how giggly,” Rager said. “He didn’t have the words, but he said you change.”
Through a study of the “attachment theory,” researchers have concluded that families where there is a parental SUD are impacted by a disruption of attachment, rituals, roles, routines, communication, social life, and finances.
Lorilee says she unknowingly ignored her children. It wasn’t until her 10-year-old called her out for breaking a simple routine of no pizza during the week that she began to see how her drinking was affecting her family.
The irony is that Rager thought she was doing the right thing by not hiding her drinking from her children.
“We’d had a lot of drinking and parties in our home all of his life,” she said. “We never hid it. My family’s past history was always hiding it. So, we thought it was the healthy way to not hide it.”
Treating addiction and sharing recovery stories
Seeking treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction is the first step toward lasting recovery. Many people try to detox on their own or find the willpower to quit substances “cold turkey.” However, few succeed without formalized treatment.
Landmark Recovery’s addiction treatment centers provide education and support to understand the root causes of substance abuse. Each rehab center is run by a caring and experienced staff, many of whom have overcome addictions themselves and know what really works.
The best rehab centers offer personalized programs that combine family counseling and individual therapy. They teach people dealing with addictions how to avoid triggers and cravings that could lead to a relapse. Our teams do their best to make each patient feel like a person who matters.
We’ve seen what happens when someone emerges from a drug or alcohol addiction. They have the opportunity to become like Rager, who is currently the creative director of Thrive Creative Group, a professor at Austin Peay State University and the host of a podcast called “Ground & Gratitude.” They find a renewed sense of purpose. They feel human again.
We’re collecting more stories to share in the hope of inspiring others to seek treatment for addiction and start their path to recovery. If you’d like to share your recovery story on “Humans of Recovery” send an email to media@LandmarkRecovery.com.