I’m almost five years sober: this July 17th will mark my five years in recovery.
Five years without cigarette, a drop of alcohol or a hit of weed.
Five years without a snort of meth, cocaine, oxycodone, or popping anything else I could find.
On my previous sober anniversaries, there was no doubt or shred of nervousness as the date drew closer. I could always find a reason to celebrate the milestone. But this year, I’m nervous. I’ve been trying to sort out why. I don’t know if it has to do with the loss of two celebrities last week, or the fact that my job as a recovery treatment counselor is constantly reminding me how hard those early days are.
No one consciously plans a relapse.
Addiction is a really scary thing. No one really consciously plans a relapse. No addict or alcoholic wants to be the shitty, unreliable, distrustful person that they are when actively using. Addiction doesn’t care that you are a mother, a daughter, a sister, or an icon half the world looks up to and admires. Addiction just wants you to use.
It wasn’t like I woke up one day and was an alcoholic. It’s not like I built up my tolerance overnight to a half gallon every single day. I wasn’t able to predict the situational things life threw at me then, and I sure as hell can’t predict what life will throw at me tomorrow, or how I’ll handle it.
The suicide deaths of two celebrities last week have really made me think hard about my own sobriety. I don’t know what life was throwing at them in those last unbearable days. I don’t know if they were active in addictions. I do know mental illness and addiction means our brains are wired differently.
And that’s what leaves me feeling nervous about approaching five years. With this disease, it really is one day at a time, and not a second sooner.
Bethany is a mother in recovery of two boys, 19 months apart, who often wonders what the heck were they thinking having them so close together. Answer: they weren’t. She has been in recovery since the summer of 2013, and has since finished her Master’s Classes in Addiction Studies through Hazelden Betty Ford, runs her Wellness Business with EOs, attained her Real Estate License and is currently working on her state hours to become an official Co-occurring Disorders Counselor.