This month, I will be celebrating 11 years in recovery. It seems like only yesterday that I walked through the doors of Mountainside. When I arrived here, I hadn’t worked in over a year, was broke, lost all my friendships and my partner of 3 ½ years. I had no idea how to live, had zero self-esteem, and felt nothing.
I wasn’t one of those who got it “right” on the first try. When I left Mountainside, I went to a sober house. I didn’t take the suggestions: go to a meeting, don’t get into a relationship, get a sponsor, stop talking to old friends. I did the opposite. I isolated myself in my room when I arrived at my sober house, avoided going to a meeting the first night, and got into a relationship.
In less than two months, I was out the door. I knew I didn’t want recovery; I wasn’t ready. One night I found myself sitting across from this woman who looked like she was 100 years old. Something inside of me realized that I was staring into the eyes of my future. It was in that moment that I knew I had to make a change.
Everyone talks about “hitting rock bottom” and what that means. My view is that you can choose when you are at your rock bottom. The bottom is limitless. It is a dark, black abyss of nothingness that goes on forever. It will always get worse.
What I have learned since choosing recovery is that it isn’t a race. There is no finish line. We as humans are constantly evolving. There is so much to learn about ourselves. Growth comes each day. Celebrate your success, and most importantly, applaud your failures and know that if you are trying, you actually aren’t failing at all!
Stop using recovery as an excuse. Far too many times I hear people say, “I didn’t get into recovery for this,” or “Why is this happening to me? I’m not drinking or using anymore.” Guess what? We get to live this thing called life. Take recovery out of the equation. Realize that every human has ups and downs. We in recovery are not exempt from failure. What we do have are the tools and support to get us through any obstacles we face. We are, in fact, the lucky ones.
I have learned to live my life for me. As long as I am not harming myself or someone else in the process, then it can’t be wrong. In fact, the more I live my truth, the more authentic I am, the more I am supported and accepted by others. I wouldn’t change one piece of my story because all those scars, all those scrapes and bruises have led me to the most important thing: me. And guess what? I love me, 100%.