As a woman in long term recovery from alcohol and drugs it’s so important I never forget how my journey began. I was chained to the dark side for over 20 years, so the first few days; even weeks without any substances were terrifying. I had reached a point of being ‘too scared to live and too scared to die’, and was overwhelmed with guilt, shame and remorse. All the times I used drinking or drugs, I was living a lie and it was impossible for me to admit I needed help. But when the moment did arrive when my world came crashing down; the message came through loud and clear — and I have never turned back. Honestly there isn’t enough room on this page if I wrote out the many reasons I love sobriety.
I’ve learned what gratitude means; what service is; that asking for help doesn’t make me weak; I can tell my story and not feel shame; I’ve learned the power of forgiveness and being forgiven. I’ve learned and continue to realize that I can’t change you or the world to suit my wants and needs. My most important lesson? I have been graced with a connection to a Higher Power, always available— always constant.
There have been many magical moments, and snippets of hope when I need them most. There are so many people who have helped me along the way, and I would have never met any of them if I was not in recovery. One of the beautiful gifts of being sober is the understanding we have for each other.
During this month of Recovery Awareness, I am one of the many who have the disease of addiction, and am not ashamed to say it out loud. If I keep silent it will continue to feed the stigma.
The goal throughout September is to come together, celebrate individuals in recovery, and offer hope to those who are struggling. National Recovery Month reinforces the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover.
Through the years there is an ever growing movement of people who are speaking out and stepping out of the shadows. Why do we do this? How else will people know that continuous recovery from addiction is real? That people like you and me can lead successful lives; we work, we marry, we raise families, and we love, we laugh and we show others that while this deadly disease cannot be cured, it can be treated.
Recovery reminds people in recovery and those who support them that no one is alone in the journey through recovery. Everyone’s journey is different, but we are all in this together. And pay attention to your magical moments!
Sobriety date: June 17, 1990