This weekend I was able to take part in an event that brings survivors of addiction together to celebrate recovery. As I sat there listening to several people tell their story and share their experience, strength and hope, I heard one very common thread that tied it all together. It is simply about sharing the message. We come together as an uncommon group of people with a common goal. To survive.
What am I doing today to participate in my recovery? What am I doing to carry the message to others? These events always get me thinking and as I process, I feel deeply. I process out loud, talking to friends about what I hear and what I see. I process internally as well, thoughts stirring inside me like a volcano ready to erupt. There is always one profound moment where I connect with the tiniest piece of information that someone shares. This weekend, it was an overload of profound moments.
I listened to a woman talk with great compassion about her family. I thought about mine. Remembering the torture I laid upon my family while in active addiction, my heart broke and my gut wrenched. I realized I have more work to do. God has rebuilt many of the relationships that were damaged or lost due to my addiction, but what have I done to truly make amends? I know in the beginning it is about living amends… showing my family, my friends that my life is recovery centered and becoming a better person. Making commitments and following through. That is all good and well, but when is it time to have a conversation and honestly, passionately apologize and ask for forgiveness of my wrong doings? Am I willing to hear what they have to say if these amends take place? Today, I am. So, I ask for strength in my morning prayers to be willing and open and to allow me readiness when He shows me the time is right. There is so much more that happened while I listened to this woman talk, but it is far too much to process here… another time, maybe.
Another woman I heard speak told my story. It doesn’t happen often that you listen to someone speak the truth about your life. Here and there we tend to get little pieces of our story wrapped into someone else’s. This woman, she was me. Obviously, there were parts of her story, her message that I could not relate to, but there was so much that was similar. As I listened, I sat in awe of the beautiful woman before us. I knew the pain she spoke of and I could easily grasp onto the hope she had. I have mentioned before that when I feel, I feel deeply. I was paralyzed by her voice. There is no way to accurately describe what I heard other than, “Don’t give up. Take action. Be true.”. This beautiful soul spoke to me in a way that I finally understood what I am missing… There is not enough recovery taking place in my life. Somewhere along the lines, I have let my recovery become stagnant. Who am I to think that I don’t have to keep working hard to stay healthy? HELLO! Wake up and smell the coffee.
If I want results, I have to do more than just put one foot in front of the other. In the beginning, there was a lot of just trudging to make it through the day. Some days, all I could do was just hang on. Through the grace of God, most days I no longer have the desire to drink or use. I have been taking for granted that I haven’t found it necessary to pick up in nearly two years. Listening to a man speak, I had a moment of clarity. I have been uncomfortable for awhile… I have moments of peace, but the discomfort always comes back. My clarity? It was shown to me like a big, flashing neon sign that my thought process, my addiction is telling me, “You have nearly TWO whole years of recovery… You can’t relapse.”. There is nothing further from the truth. That realization shook me to my core. It brought me to my knees in prayer and it reminded me that I am just another human being, recovering one day at a time.
The other speakers were equally passionate and shared a great message. I am incredibly blessed to be a part of a recovery community that embraces all differences to come together as a whole. I heard the message this weekend. Thankfully, I have an amazing support system. When I break down, when I feel crazy… they are there to hold me up and point me in the right direction. I can make all of the decisions in the world to do things differently, but until I take the action, nothing will ever, ever change. So, that amazing support group… they helped me form a plan of action. I can talk the talk, but I must walk the walk. I must humble myself before God and my fellows and admit that I falter too. I feel weak, but I know God is strong. I continue to ask for his strength and willingness. I ask for help. Knowing in my heart that I am simply a sinner that he intends to save, I place my life in his hands and ask for guidance to do the next right thing. And just for today… I don’t have to use. I can share the message and speak my truth. I can survive.