I am filled with gratitude as I reflect on my journey into recovery from addiction, a journey that began in an Anaheim 12-Step meeting on January 3rd, 1981. Committing to a clean and sober life marked the first time I dedicated myself to something meaningful. Despite the initial pain and challenges, the payoff has been immense.
Navigating the process of self-discovery and my relationship with a Higher Power wasn’t a joy ride, but it was transformative. Today, I cherish the ability to be clean and sober while raising my children and actively participating in my granddaughter’s life. Through the trials of those early recovery years, I learned responsibility and grew into a contributing member of society.
Witnessing individuals, once considered lost causes, transform into productive members of society within those meeting rooms is nothing short of miraculous. The 12 steps to recovery not only led to my healing but also paved the way for lifelong friendships. I am thankful to God for my life and the gift of recovery.
Tips for Getting and Staying Clean and Sober
When I use the term “addict,” I refer to both alcoholics and drug addicts, acknowledging that addiction takes various forms. The first step is a willingness to do whatever it takes for a more fulfilling life. If the current coping mechanisms no longer serve, seeking help from those who have walked the path of recovery is crucial. Treatment options abound, from rehab centers to fellowship meetings like AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and NA (Narcotics Anonymous).
While therapy has its place, the combination of therapy and meetings often proves most effective. Personal preferences play a role, with some finding value in AA, others in NA, and some, like myself, benefiting from both.
The Significance of Having a Sponsor
Attending meetings is paramount, but securing a sponsor ranks as the second most crucial aspect of recovery. I recommend choosing a sponsor with at least five years of recovery, as their experience becomes an invaluable guide through the 12 steps. Sponsors also evolve into supportive friends, offering essential encouragement on the recovery journey.
The Power of Meetings and Consistency
While the frequency of meetings is a personal choice, the more one attends, the greater the positive impact on well-being. Meetings provide a centering effect, offering solace and focus even on challenging days. Early in my recovery, I attended daily meetings, recognizing the importance of prioritizing recovery over everything else, because if we don’t have recovery, we ultimately have nothing. Addiction slowly robs us of our family, friends, careers, and everything else we once held as significant.
Addressing the Notion of “Relapse is a Part of Recovery”
In my opinion, the idea that “relapse is a part of recovery” originated from treatment centers seeking financial gain. This statement can be dangerous, implying that relapse is an accepted norm. From my experience, relapse is less likely when individuals actively engage in regular meetings and work closely with a sponsor on their 12 steps. The truth that “you don’t ever have to drink or use again” has been a life-saving mantra, emphasizing the constant support available from sponsors and fellow 12-step members.
Remember, you’re not alone in this journey. Recovery is a path walked with the unwavering support of a community that understands and cares.