The road to addiction recovery is a little different for each person, but once people decide to turn their lives around, the outcome is universal. Working a program gives men and women the tools to lead productive lives. No longer choosing to escape one’s problems, they can tackle obstacles head-on.
Sobriety is the solution for so many, molding individuals into better friends, parents, spouses, and employees. The list of gifts that recovery bestows upon a person are too many to recount, but each story of healing shares common traits. Those who show up and do the work, day after day, find results. At times the path is rocky, and many want to quit before the miracle happens, but with support there is no problem that can’t be worked out in recovery.
Over the last two decades, there has been a collective effort to shatter the myths and stigma of addiction. There’s been a drive to bring mental illness out of the darkness. As a result, more people are empowered to share their experience, strength, and hope, outside the rooms of recovery.
Publicly sharing one’s story was relatively unheard of not too long ago. Men and women went to great lengths to keep the history of abuse under lock and key. While it was not too uncommon for a celebrity to share a little about his or her struggle with addiction, in an interview or tell-all, that was veritably not the case for average citizens. Not anymore. Today more Americans are finding the courage to talk publicly about their battles with alcohol and substance use disorder.
Pulling Back the Curtain on Addiction
Instead of viewing addiction as a failure, more and more people are accepting the disease for what it is — a treatable mental health condition. The millions of people working programs of recovery prove that to be true. As the number of men and women in recovery grows, the stigma of addiction shrinks. No longer paralyzed by shame, those leading lives in sobriety empower and affect change in the lives of others.
The New York Times Magazine recently published an article written by a former aircraft maintenance technician for the U.S. Air Force. Heather King is in recovery for alcohol use disorder and has penned a beautifully written piece about her road to sobriety. She shares with readers about the complications that alcohol caused her and her family, and how recovery changed her life. She eloquently relates many of the reasons she kept drinking, even though the decision to do so nearly cost her everything.
King shares that although she had a full-time job, a house, and a graduate degree, she was plagued by depression, alcohol use, and suicidal ideation. Her drinking led to a couple of DUIs, one of which could have been fatal. After her second offense, King said, “I could no longer see myself drinking, but I had no idea how to live my life without alcohol.”
Like so many people before her, King found help in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. People in the rooms told her that if she attended meetings and didn’t drink, they would show her a new way of life. If you have an opportunity to read what Heather King wrote, in full, please do.
If you are in recovery or are thinking about taking steps to recover, there is probably much you can relate to in her essay.
“I’ve been sober now for two years and 10 months. The decision to get sober and stay sober, by no means easy, was the single most important decision I have made in my life. Sobriety has allowed me to become a better parent. My life as a sober mother has cured the awful ache deep inside my core. It has given me a life I always wanted but never thought I deserved. It has taught me what is most important in motherhood: showing up for your children and being fully present for them.” — Heather King
Finding the Courage to Share
Talking about your history with drugs and alcohol is not easy; there are many painful emotions attached to years of active use. If working a program is new to you, and it takes every ounce of courage you have to share, then please know that you are not alone.
Sitting among relative strangers and talking about being brought to your knees by drugs and alcohol is, for most people, a daunting task. Some will attend a large number of meetings before they feel up to speaking in front of an audience. However, once a person shares their story, it is not uncommon for them to feel a wave of calmness and serenity.
Every individual with alcohol or substance use disorder in their past has said and done things they are not proud of and would rather not recount. Active addiction impacts one’s decision-making process, which leads men and women to harm those they care most about in life. Talking about those things with nonjudgmental people is a vital component of the healing process. Doing so allows people to find it in their hearts to forgive themselves.
At the core of recovery is changing your life for the better; working a program is the mechanism that manifests progress. If you have been attending meetings and are reticent about sharing, that’s alright. Just keep coming back and talk with a man or woman you feel comfortable with either before or after a meeting. In time, your reservations will diminish, and the desire to open up with the group will increase.
California Addiction Program for Adults
At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we offer a full continuum of care to help men and women heal from addiction and lead productive lives in sobriety. Our facility is equipped to provide acute medical detoxification, residential and outpatient treatment, and partial hospitalization. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs and services.