The Catalyst of Change: A New Look Into Addiction Recovery
Updated: Dec 13, 2021
Disclaimer: The opinions in this blog are mine, and mine only. They do not represent any group that may be mentioned. These are just my thoughts, feelings, and with the freedom of my speech, I release them to you. Take what you like, leave what you don’t.
From Victim to Warrior: How Recovery Changed My Life
Two years ago I made the radical decision to take my life back. To begin a journey down a completely unknown path. I can sit here and talk about the traumas, setbacks, and where I went wrong in my life to prove to you my credentials as an addict, but today my focus is on what makes me forever in recovery. Today, I choose to pave the way to a new world where, instead of having to hear about someone else’s pain as validation to celebrate their accomplishments, we can embrace them entirely - in their power and without needing to know they had it “rough.”
For the majority of my recovery, I’ve been gossiped about, told I’m wearing “rose-colored glasses” and that I’m not truly sober unless I wholly participate in a specific recovery program. You see, I became emotionally sober my first year in recovery because I chose to start incorporating rigorous self-reflection into my life, dedicated to becoming the embodiment of my teachings. I focused on honing my daily practice and habits. I began programming my mind to work for me rather than against me. And every single morning I began to dedicate my life to be of service to others.
I’ll back up here for the sake of transparency and acknowledge that what I did receive in the addiction recovery rooms is a gift I would lovingly give anyone. And while rooted in gratitude, I just needed more and in a more aligned capacity than how I was being supported in my recovery.
I knew I didn’t want to live life codependent on anything - not a substance, not a person, and not a program. I knew I wanted more out of life. I didn’t get sober to settle. I didn’t get sober to shackle and chain myself to limiting beliefs. And I did not get sober to live the rest of my life thinking that something was wrong with me.
I got sober to be empowered! To live a life more freely and full of joy and curiosity. I got sober to look in the mirror and feel my worth and a greater love for me. I got sober to look deep inside of myself with the courage to address all the things that caused me to become addicted in the first place. I couldn’t just swallow the pill of having an “addict mind” or that I had some incurable disease. That just didn’t vibe as my truth. It didn’t feel right for me.
So this last year I broke free from the program that helped me to reclaim my life because, to walk fully into who I wanted to be, I couldn’t continue to affirm anything of the sort. I doubled down on my spiritual practice and tuned into my moral compass, learning what and where my alignment was. Becoming dedicated to ensuring that every single moment of my life was focused toward aligning with those learnings.
I won’t lie - I thought that once I healed the wounds that cultivated the habits of addiction that I would be free at last. But I quickly learned that those wounds never fully go away. That there is always some sort of healing that needs to occur, that there is no destination. And still, I chose to keep going. To take full responsibility for my life, to release control, and to support the healing of my mind, body, and my spirit. I decided to take my recovery into my own hands, knowing there is more for us to become. To be.
Now, if you have read this far and are an active member of a program, I honor that you might feel a sense of upset or dis-ease. I want to reiterate that this is my story and not at all a reflection of you, your experience, or your program. I am merely shining a light on the fact that we (as beings in recovery) have been doing the same thing for almost 100 years, and I think it’s time we recalibrate. If this resonates with you, I supportively challenge you to step into how you want your program to look. And if it does not resonate with you, I still challenge you with the same invitation. We’re not meant to grow stagnant, and if we are not evolving as a collective then we’re not growing to our fullest capacity.
So here you find me, shouting from the rooftops that it’s time to forge a new path for what recovery can be. Where people that have self-soothed in any way can come to a place of unconditional love and empowerment for themselves and others. A place where we each can look at every single part of ourselves with compassion - asking what it needs and how it needs to be loved - with the single intention of reclaiming our lives.
To create a life worth living, we must make the conscious choices to move in that direction instead of continuing with the narrative that we’ve been conditioned to accept: “I am an addict.” “I have an addicted mind.” “I am a bad person.” etc. We move forward by knowing that we are good, able people. That we were each hurt in some way/s, decided to self-medicate, and that doesn’t mean we’re defective or less than in any way.
Changing the narrative of our lives is the single most important thing anyone in recovery can do. We now have extensive scientific proof that we are what we think (enjoy that rabbit hole), more true with every thought. When you repeatedly think, “I am an addict,” guess what - you are an addict. If you change the narrative to something such as, “I am forever in recovery,” it changes the script of the mind.
If this sounds a little “woo woo” to you, might I remind you that all science begins with a thought, a hypothesis? And once it’s been proven time and again, its stance becomes “real”. So goes it with proving to ourselves the power of our thoughts for the realities we experience, by practicing that theory with volition. Here’s a beautiful article I suggest if you’d like to dig deeper.
I was always told that you either die or start using again when you leave the rooms. And I’m here to say that can’t be further from the only truth. I’m here today, I’m sober, I’m forever in recovery, and I’m telling you wholeheartedly that we have more options and more possibilities than we’ve ever been told exist.
With that understanding, I’m here urging us to come together and create something so big and life-changing - so paradigm-shifting - that the evolution of Recovery will write itself from the root of Resilience.
Remember, you are worthy of a life worth living. Your past does not define you, and the here and now is where your power always lies. I am so grateful that you have shared this time with me and welcome any feedback that’s arisen within you. I’m aware that what I’m creating changes much of what we’ve been conditioned to think, and I know not everyone is ready to meet that challenge. I merely invite you to recognize that change is not bad nor good - merely change. I love you all.