Today I am 29. Twenty-nine years without a drink or a drug. Since every day alive is a miracle and a gift, I count many thousands of miracles and gifts. They have not all been “good” days, but each has been tolerable. Even if I have “found it necessary to use,” I have not used. One day at a time, for 29 years. Most days have been wonderful and for the not-so-good days, I have had a solution, usually go to a meeting or call someone and cry. My many friends, (most in recovery, but some just emotionally and spiritually healthy people who did not have to do what I had to do to find a way to live), help me to get a different perspective and change my attitude. By the end of each of those days, I have always found something to be grateful for, recovery and the chance to be clean and feel my feelings at the very least, usually much more.
The awesome days far outnumber the “blah” ones. Going through each of them without having a drug to turn to has allowed (forced) me to be in touch with my feelings. It took me a while, several years, to resolve (re-solve) negative thoughts and feelings, but using the steps as solutions, it worked if I worked. Almost all days now find me happy and content, if not ecstatic. I love life and I love that I get to have a life!
I am thankful that when I landed in my first 12 step meetings in Denver, there were alcoholics and addicts with very solid, serious recovery. They were there, waiting to help me and others like me! I simply had to allow the help; not easy, but simple. By doing what they told me to do, listening in meetings at least once a day, finding a sponsor and working through the steps, I have been given recovery.
Since that day, March 9, 1984, I have had very few weeks without attending one or more meetings and talking with others in recovery. On some level, I knew immediately that meetings had to come ahead of almost everything else. I need others in recovery to maintain my own spiritual fitness. I also need the structure of the steps, as they are my solution to any problem or issue I have. If I remain spiritually fit, life does not seem so overwhelming and I can do what I think God wants me to do.
A relationship with God is the greatest gift of my recovery, followed closely by a 25-year marriage to a wonderful man who has his own healthy recovery. There is so much more, including children and grandchildren that I would not have without first surrendering to recovery and then maintaining every day.
Just don’t use no matter what. Grab one cheek with each hand and hold on for the ride of your life. Everything else will happen for you if you just don’t use, but you may have to do some work along the way.
What are your gifts from recovery? From life?
Copyright 2013, Dawn V. Obrecht, MD
Photo courtesy of: flickr
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