What Does Recovery Mean To Me?

Sunday mornings always seem to be a time where I sit in silence and allow my thoughts to travel into the mystic. When you get caught in the gears of the everyday grind, you need to have some alone time with yourself and some coffee and ditch the bullshit and get to the nitty gritty of where you are at with yourself.

It also could be the fact that it is Easter morning as I write this, and Easter symbolizes rebirth and renewal. Who knows why I am engaging in my own version of “Deep Thoughts,” I feel the need to scratch the deepest of itches so I am going for it.

As I write this morning, I realize that I will be coming up on 13 years clean in about a month or so. Where does the time go? I remember those heady and poisonous days where I cared only about sliding liquor and other poisons down by throat and gave a shit less about holding a job, paying my bills and showing love and care to those I love the most in my life.

My, how things have changed for the better. Don’t get me wrong, I ain’t perpetually floating on pink clouds. There are days where I have my struggles, but I keep on truckin’ and I face my challenges head on with my head held high and my recovery intact. I thought this article would focus on this one question…what does recovery mean to me?

The answer to this question cannot be completed in one mere sentence or even a couple of sentences. Instead, the answer to the question what does recovery mean to me is more nuanced and has texture and dimension as the years unfold. I will attempt to present a more cliff-notes style version of what recovery means to me, but it won’t lack the power and substance.

So, here it goes.

What Does Recovery Mean to Me?

First of all, recovery means determination. Every morning when I rise from my bed and shake the sleep from my body, my goal is to stay clean and sober today. I will do everything necessary to keep that promise to myself and will avail myself to all the tools and support in my arsenal to ensure that outcome. I will face my challenges head on and take my lumps and bruises, but I will get back up, shake the dust off and keep moving forward. I will be definite in my actions and I will be firm in my resolve. No matter what happens, I will learn, grow and keep on keeping on.

Recovery means perseverance. I am a survivor. I think back to the broken person I was when I was actively using and realize that I have come a long fucking way. I am far from perfect, and I am far from being an expert in recovery but I will continue to do the work I need to do in the face of difficulty, challenges and any opposition I encounter. When you are in recovery, you need to be like a Weeble Wobble…you may get knocked around and feel like the wheels are gonna come off, but you aren’t going to take the ten count.

Recovery means having fortitude. For me, fortitude is having balls even though you have been kicked in the balls. I have endured my share of health issues, watched my dad die of cancer, watch other family members die, watching everything I own go up in smoke in an apartment fire and have taken the blows from other misfortunes and yet I am still standing tall and sober. Having fortitude means that you face danger, adversity and your demons with courage. I am in it to win it.

Recovery means insight. In my sobriety, I have become more aware of the relationship between myself, the person around me and my environment. I am more aware of how my actions impact myself and others and I fully realize that I must treat myself and others with kindness, compassion and respect. I think before acting and I live in the here and now.

Recovery means belief. In my recovery, I have faith and trust that things will be alright. The outcomes may not be when I have planned on or intended, but those outcomes will be the right ones in the fact it will help me grow. I will continue to keep the faith when it is shaky and I will see things through to the end and beyond.

Recovery means honesty. The truth is simple; you can’t truly work a program of recovery if you aren’t completely honest with yourself and others. It is tough to call yourself out, and it is tough to admit to others when you have done wrong–but it must be done. Transparency, openness, sincerity–it isn’t an easy haul, but being truly real keeps your feet on the ground.

Recovery means compassion. In my recovery, I have learned to feel empathy for myself in times of trouble and I have learned to forgive myself when I have fallen short. Likewise, I extend that empathy and forgiveness towards others who may transgress against me.

So, what does recovery mean to me? The answer to that question will grow as I continue to work my program of recovery. What does recovery mean to you? You need to take some time for yourself and ask yourself that very question. The answers that come from within can surprise and startle you, and it will provide the spark within you to keep moving forward in your recovery.

— author unknown