*TW: The contents within this post discuss sensitive topics*
“After living within the confines of addiction for well over a decade, I understand firsthand the disease of addiction and the many ways it manifests itself within your mind, body and spirit.
As a young child I suffered with severe depression and anxiety. I was well aware of how powerful hatred was and the incredible impact that bullying, rejection, and exclusion can have on a human being. I found comfort and refuge in alcohol at the age of 12.
My people pleasing and addictive tendencies led me to pursue people, places and things that I otherwise wouldn’t have. I exposed myself to a world of physical and sexual assault, substance abuse, and self-harm. I lived my life paralyzed with fear and silenced by shame. I could never find comfort in my own skin and spent years looking for ways to escape it.
I understand that endless obsession of the mind, the craving of the body and starvation of the soul, as well as the many self-sabotaging thoughts, actions, and behaviors that this disease cultivates.
Over the next fifteen years my disease progressed and manifested itself into full blown alcoholism, a serious eating disorder, gambling addiction, and chemical dependency. I could not fathom my life without substance. I didn’t think it possible to survive in this world, let alone without that liquid courage or some avenue of escape.
Until I found TRUE and UNEQUIVOCAL FREEDOM in recovery!
I had my first Pivot Point; a sobering moment of clarity when I decided that there had to be a reason why I was still alive. Why I had survived all of the things for all of these years. I reached out to someone I barely knew and asked for help. From there I spent two months in treatment.
For the first time in my life I felt understood and accepted. I began to reclaim my identity from the grips of my addiction. I traded in my suffering for surrender, my shame for strength, and my substances for serenity. Friendships were created, a sense of community and belonging was established, and I found comfort and familiarity within the rooms of recovery. I was a part of something.
My second Pivot Point: Transitioning back home, I felt lost and alone. Everything and everyone I knew in recovery was now hours away. I had to start all over again and I was terrified. I didn’t know who was sober in my community; it’s an anonymous program. The thought of entering new rooms with new people was wreaking havoc on my social anxiety. I relied heavily on the advice of the center: read the Big Book, get a sponsor, go to meetings. As invaluable as these pieces were, they left me feeling incomplete moving forward. Meetings typically last an hour; I had to figure out what to do with the other 23 hours remaining in each day and learn how to build an actual daily LIFESTYLE of recovery.
And I did.
I put more time and energy into fueling my recovery and wellness than I had when I was feeding my addictions. Early into my journey of growth and healing I established a sense of grounding and comfort within a particular program of recovery. It helped cultivate a lifestyle of abstinence. I was able to immerse myself within its community and gain a sense of purpose and direction.
My third Pivot Point: Over the years I found myself in this place where I was growing as a person socially, mentally and emotionally, but spiritually I was complacent; A little lost, uninspired even. I feared that if I veered away from the program that had brought me this far, I would lose not only the friendships and community I had established, I would lose my grounding in recovery too. Even moreso, I feared what would become of me if I were to stay where I was.
I began to explore and embrace a variety of practices, programs, approaches and methodologies that have allowed me to continuously reignite and elevate my recovery, my sense of purpose, and my life. I am grateful for these pivotal moments as they have led me to who, and where, I am today.