In yesterday’s post, I shared my story of alcoholism and recovery. Most of what I do today has been inspired and driven by that experience: my return to school, my career, my volunteer work. It has affected my family in many ways, both positive and negative.
But my life in recovery is not consumed with daily thoughts of addiction and recovery.
When I first stopped drinking, I had been fired. Our family was facing some financial difficulty and a lot of uncertainty. In those days, I woke up every morning wondering how I could make it through the day without drinking. I went to bed every night surprised that I had made it another day.
But that was early on. That is a common experience for anyone recovering from any addiction. When someone removes an addictive substance from their bodies or stops performing an addictive behavior, every part of life is affected. And for a while, every waking action is directly impacted by the bizarre, unknown, scary shift our bodies and minds are going through.
But that does not last forever.
Today, thoughts of drinking and sobriety do not consume my attention. I don’t wake up wondering if today is the day that I relapse. I don’t go through the day constantly looking over my shoulder afraid of the next temptation that will come my way. It is no longer a surprise to go to bed sober.
But I do view every day as a gift.
I still attend 12 Step meetings to help process issues that come up (and, yes; some days I need meetings more than others). It also allows me to interact with other people at various stages of addiction and recovery. It allows me to share community and life with people—some of whom speak wisdom into my life and some of whom need to hear a word from me. I still choose to not drink. (For me, this is not negotiable.)
I have sought out and benefit greatly from several spiritual mentors who help guide me. They hold me accountable. They keep me honest. They have allowed me safe spaces to be open and vulnerable.
I am still heavily involved in church and volunteer opportunities. My faith is important and I need to find ways for that faith to be active. It is important to get my mind off of myself and on to others.
And I just live every day. I wake up, go to work, share meals with friends, talk with my family, attend school and extra-curricular activities.
My “life in recovery” is exactly that: life. I don’t live in fear of what might happen, I live in gratitude of all that continues to happen each and every day. As with everyone else, I have good days and bad days. I have days that I glide through and days I struggle through.
But every day is a gift. I will enjoy each one to the best of my ability—living in gratitude and not fear.