There is a difference between finding recovery and living in recovery. When I found recovery, I was at such a rock bottom that I could see no way of continuing to live.
I was well aware that alcohol is a toxin. I knew it was ruining everything and destroying me and all my relationships. It caused me to isolate, hate and lose all self-respect. Yet I kept pouring it into my body. Why I did it remains a mystery. I suppose it had become a support mechanism and had taken control of my every move – so much so that I had no way of stopping
My Old Friend …
When I thought about alcohol, I likened it to a friend. To a companion that I needed in my life. There were times I knew I had to stop, but I had no idea how to do that. I would look at this inanimate object – the bottle, the liquid – and fail to understand its extreme hold on my life. Alcohol came before everything else. Family, job and self were all second best to my alcohol. And for a while, to the outside world, I seemed to be okay and functioning fairly normally as a wife, mother and employee.
Near the end of my drinking the cracks began to show. Friends were distancing themselves. Colleagues were making snide comments. It wasn’t until I wasn’t allowed to attend a work event, that a seed was planted. Maybe it was time to slow down … But physically I wasn’t able.
As soon as I had that first drink, I couldn’t get the next and then the next into my system quickly enough. I just needed it more and more and anyone who couldn’t keep up was a lightweight.
My last night of drinking was pretty eventful. I was drawn to the alcohol at another corporate event like a moth to a bright light. The whole day I was on tenterhooks waiting for that moment when the free wine came out. The first drink that day was so desperately needed that I took two free drinks. I pretended to get one for someone else. In seconds I had swallowed both and was back for more. After that, it was again and again. Close to blackout, colleagues were hinting that I should go home. But I couldn’t figure out how or why to do that.
Finding a 12-step Program …
The next day I found a 12-step programme and slowly found people who made it okay to be me. They understood my anguish and pain. Gentle support and love surrounded me and somehow one day (as the saying goes) led to another and another.
Living in Recovery
I am now learning to live in recovery. I’m proud of my sobriety and feel empowered to live my life unburdened. You see, I was a terrible people pleaser. Life hasn’t been easy living in recovery, and I have had to make a number of adjustments. These have been difficult decisions and have tested my sobriety in ways I never considered. Feelings and emotions that I had quashed for years emerged with a vengeance. And I had to learn to face them, without reaching for my old “friend” and support system – alcohol.
Living in recovery, I am learning more about why I made the decisions I did. Why I held onto anger and hatred. I did this because my addiction wanted me to. My addiction wants me weak and at its mercy. That way it can feed on my pain and lead me back to another drink.
There are a lot of options for getting support in recovery. But for me, the 12-steps of the program saved my life. It has given me security and friendship (something I have never experienced). There is no right or wrong, no one telling me what to do. I can leave any time I like.
Luckily for me I have never felt the need to leave. I have a sponsor who gets me, and we work the steps in a way that allows me to grow. The key to sobriety for me is acceptance. Only by accepting who I am, can I live in true recovery. My sober life is now peaceful and joyous. And I stay close to the people who care, to keep me feeling peaceful and joyous.
Cheers to finding recovery and living recovery, every single day …