It has occurred to me that the way I left my last post could be a source of frustration for those out there who are currently struggling or suffering. “There are answers,” I said. And maybe someone thought to him or herself: “That’s great and everything but… what exactly are those answers?”
The truth of the matter is that the answers are different for everyone and I certainly don’t claim to have them. I can only share what works for me. While I find a twelve step program to be my personal saving grace, it may not be the answer for all. That being said, my blog is neither affiliated with nor does it promote a particular program of recovery. I expect that future posts will merely be vignettes from my own life.
I know there are those who may believe there is only “one way” to find recovery. That’s okay. That is one truth. The following is mine. I am writing not just from the standpoint of a person in recovery but also from the perspective of someone with an education in the mental health and substance abuse counseling fields. I do not say this to qualify myself as some kind of expert (because I most certainly am not!). As a matter of fact, by writing this blog I have disqualified myself from ethically (with respectable practitioner-client boundaries) practicing under a license. I only wish to share what we were emphatically taught in the classroom (and what I truly believe!): Everyone is an individual with his or her own path to wellness. Recovery is as unique as the individual seeking it out.
In my experience, there are some key components. First and foremost, I need to reach out and ask for help. I also need a clean, sober, and/or behavior abstaining support network. Finally, I need to deal with the issues underlying my addictive behaviors. I was (and often still am) a fear-driven creature.
It’s ultimately not my place to advise one on exactly how to find recovery. The best I can do is try to successfully describe it and hope that maybe I inspire others to ask for it.
I am wired for self destruction. That is my first and most natural inclination. But now – on a daily basis – I choose to re-wire myself for survival. And not just survival. Beautiful, vibrant living.
My recovery is a state of wakefulness. It is noticing the world and reconnecting with a sense of awe. It is a sense of profound gratitude. It is striving not for supreme happiness or euphoria but contentment. It is finding contentment and knowing peace. It is being able to sit with pain and accept joy. It is when what I have is enough and I am enough.
Today, I am awake. I notice the Winter sun filtering through the blinds and warming my skin. I can feel the dull pain of a headache behind my eyes. I am aware of the rise and fall of my own breath. A slight flicker of fear crosses my chest as I consider once again making myself vulnerable before the public eye. The feeling passes as quickly as it arrives. It is imperfectly perfect.