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Friday, March 8, 2019

Personal Thoughts, Stories & Reflections From People In Early Recovery: Part 14

recovery reflections Since 2018 hit - my life was a mess. Now I can say my life actually feels in balance and on track. Maybe not the track I pictured a few years ago, but still on track and heading up. Two to three years ago I pictured a loving marriage and promising career with a few positive additions on the side, such as pets, traveling, etc… but now learning to love my self and accept my past seems like the right track. Maybe there’s no traveling or loving marriage, but I do have loving friends while I go through my complicated divorce. As for traveling, I have been lucky to go to many places I never even dreamed of such as the destinations we hike and I have been able to go to places I only hoped to visit like Fear Farm for Halloween. Now pets can be tricky - I get to play with dogs who are brought by families and work with horses during equine therapy - and there always is the chance to pet a dog being walked around town. I cant wait to see how 2019 feels balanced and on track.

- Client A

Early in recovery, I was immediately drawn to the program because of the hope shared from others. The laughter and happiness was contagious. Being able to come out of such a dark place and share with other people who had gone through similar struggles was comforting. It has taken me months to realize that I don’t trust anyone, but slowly I am healing from things that I haven’t wanted to address in treatment before.

- Client B

For the last 4 years or so, I’ve either been in early recovery, or I’ve been drinking and using. I’ve learned that I haven’t lost anything that I’ve learned from each experience in recovery. If I had a business card, it would state: Collector of Experiences, Student of Earth. Every time I return to recovery, I am faced with skepticism and questioned about “what will be different?” In the past, I have been so focused on answering these questions perfectly, on convincing everyone that I have it all together, that I lost myself in this process. I became those answers. I created walls and boundaries for myself, I constructed a cage of perfection to live in. I have always kept myself safe inside these artificial bounds; the addict, the victim, the tortured artist, the rescuer, the free thinker, the rebel. What would life be like if I were to step outside the walls I’ve built for myself and drop these labels? I could be free. I would be free. Instead of living a life based on fear of all the ways the world and all of it’s people could hurt me, I could move through it as I please. I have enough experiences of drinking, using, and avoiding pain and hurt to understand that they only bring more pain. I’m a slow learner and it’s taken me a while, but it’s a pretty solid foundation of understanding. Just as I chose to avoid pain for so many years, I know now that there is another choice. I can choose to bust down the walls. It’s time for some new experiences. The only way out is through.

- Client C

I was in a very broken state of mind while knee deep in my alcoholism. I didn’t know there was any other sort of happiness to be experienced in life. I was living in a ghost of a human shell. I had family that didn’t want to be around me, I was living homeless, not eating, and the list goes on. What pains me the most is that I lost a career that I loved dearly and I was in my last year of finishing my bachelors degree. All of this thrown down the drain and I was drowning. When I was afforded the opportunity to be shown a better life, a life a sobriety and the rooms of AA. I couldn’t be more grateful. I live a life now that I smile when I wake up in the morning and the first thing on my mind is the simple pleasures like where is my coffee and and excitement for what the day brings. I get to rebuild my life with 10x the motivation to succeed then ever before because I know what its like to survive.

—A Bad Ass Woman In Recovery
- Client D

When I first got into the rooms I thought happiness was made up
because I hadn’t been in so long.
but when I looked around,
I saw that it was all around.
 in the smiles on the faces, in the laughter in the air, in the serenity
I could see and feel everywhere.
the life in their eyes
transformed the life in mine.
I saw that it was possible
to get to the other side.
since being here, I have realized
that happiness is not the destination;
it’s the attitude you choose to take along for the ride.
if I’m not going to be happy here,
I’m no more likely to be happy anywhere.
I’ve found this to be true.
it’s a mindset I’ve gained. of trust, of gratitude.
in every moment we choose between
accepting life with love or with fear
either way, come what may.
I’m trying this thing where I choose to choose love,
every time.
and with that, with my Higher Power here,
happiness is near.

Acceptance.
-Client E

I read somewhere, “To the degree that we seek to control, we feel out of control.”
-The Breslov Haggadah

“Understand that life can only be lived,”
(-The Breslov Haggadah) is another.
Acceptance is the answer to all of my problems today.
All I can do is be.
All I wish to be is me.
Today - I have the power to do so.
Happily.

Getting sober this time around has given me more than I could’ve ever imagined. With each day that passes I can see all different promises coming true in my life. I’m also able to be grateful for even the little things in my life today. I just got 9 months sober which is the longest time I’ve had & it feels so much better & different this time. I have a whole change of mindset around everything including that I actually have the drive & motivation to want to be sober & stay sober too. I’m definitely looking forward to all there is to come.

- Client F

Early recovery is an exciting place to be. The dark cloud that consumed me in my active addiction is lifting. I’m able to see more clearly and experience the world differently than I have in years. It’s also scary to be so new to recovery. I’m working on building up strength in my sobriety but am vulnerable to temptations caused by my addiction. I’m using my fear of relapse to motivate myself to stay sober. 

Being newly sober, I’ve struggled to find a healthy balance of fear and acknowledging the severity of my disease while also being self-confident and empowered to move forward in my recovery. I believe that I have a lot to look forward to if I keep doing the ‘next right thing’ and putting my recovery first.

- Client G

I used to always think I was different than most people. I never thought of even calling myself an alcoholic or addict, I thought I just found a way to deal with life. I have accepted the reality of being addicted and having to push through the darkness to get to the light. I have learned that I cant control people, places, or things - I know how to surrender truly, to have forgiveness, and to see my part in all situations. I was recently told people around me can see the light on, inside of me and they can see a strong woman full of wisdom. Which is definitely one of the biggest compliments I have ever gotten. When I first came into Recovery I was dead on the inside, I was done with life. I have always believed in God and now he is fully back in my life and he never left me to begin with. I am so strong inside now I continue to fight for my life so I can be the woman and mother I always knew I was inside. I can differentiate my mental illness and addiction from the real me. It is such a blessing to have the fire back to live and to help others. I look at my addiction as a blessing and my mental illness as a way to make me stronger. When it felt like it was over for me it was only the beginning to this beautiful thing I call life.

- Client H

I used to hate calling myself an alcoholic or an addict. I didn’t want a “long term label,” and alcoholic seemed like too much of a commitment. I used that excuse as a way to not look at myself and my actions for a long time, but my actions kept repeating and the consequences of my actions weren’t going away. I couldn’t continue to hide myself from everyone and wait for things to “turn out ok.” Early recovery has been the hardest and most rewarding experience that I’ve been through. It truly is about changing and being willing to push myself out of my comfort zone. I’ve dealt with trauma that I didn’t think I had, I’ve bonded with people in a way I never imagined, and I’ve been truly looking at myself. It can be tedious and hard, but the freedom that I’m gaining in return is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. After all, nothing changes if nothings changes.

- Client I

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