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Sober Mommies Recovery Is Not A Competition

Recovery Is NOT A Competition

Recently, one of our Sober Mommies was told by someone in a 12-step program that she should not consider herself, "in recovery" because she wasn't in 12-step.

As part of my recovery process, I was asked to look up the word “recover.” I had used this word many times in my life, but its meaning in the dictionary was an eye-opener.

Recovery: To return to a state that once was.

I remember being both amazed and moved by the simplicity of this definition. It was not specific to a disease or symptom, and did not mention any one way to get “there.”

Recently, one of our Sober Mommies was told by someone in a 12-step program that she should not consider herself, “in recovery” because she wasn’t in 12-step. She was told that because she doesn’t attend meetings, she is “headed for a relapse.”

This baffles me.

What I am not going to do is take anyone else’s inventory, or judge the person who offered the blanket statement to my friend. That would be hypocritical. What I am going to say is this:

Recovery is whatever you decide it is. There is no one way to find peace.

Sober Mommies has featured the stories of women who have long-term sobriety in the arms of online communities and have never stepped foot inside a meeting. It has featured stories of women who attend meetings weekly, monthly, or once.

For those who embrace them, 12-step programs are wonderful, and they work. However, it would be silly to assume that 12-step is the only way to get and stay sober. If you visit our resources page, you will find many paths to sobriety, harm reduction, support and recovery that are working for many.

It saddens me that someone might use their recovery as a basis for judging someone else’s path. In my opinion (which is just that), any amount of sobriety, or reduction in harm should be celebrated, NOT scrutinized. Sobriety is a personal choice, one that is between an individual and no other human power. I do believe that having other people in our corner is helpful to the process, but support can and does come from many places.

Recovery is not a competition, it is not a game, and there is no score keeping.

How can we complain about the stigma and judgment associated with addiction and recovery if we are treating each other this way? I am really struggling to understand why someone would say such a thing to someone who’s making strides to change her life.

If we can’t support each other, who will?

photo credit: AMERICANVIRUS

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  1. To get sober and chose a path of recovery that works for someone is a miracle all in its self! How a person chooses to do so is an individual choice! No two people are exactly alike, each has different triggers, different reasons for getting sober BUT we are all striving for the same goal: to live another day free from this captor of drugs and alcohol!

    In my opinion, which is just that, to judge someone on HOW they chose to get sober or WHAT has worked for them is belittling. To judge someone period because they don’t fit ” ones perception of how to stay clean and sober ” is an addictive behavior! Part of recovery is changing these behaviors and thought patterns because they are destructive and hurtful!

    Being in recovery and staying sober, however one chooses to do so, is a miracle to me…..a sheer blessing. I will stand beside ANYBODY who has made this choice no matter what path you’ve chosen to get there:) Each person in recovery is a soldier in this war against addiction and I will have their back however they choose to fight;)

    1. I could not agree with you more, LinnyLou. Thanks for reading the post and sharing your thoughts! 🙂

  2. What a beautiful message. Competition, advice, the desire to help are all good things when used at the right time. I hope our generation will learn how to use them more judiciously, especially with those in recovery or those trying to lessen their pain in a healthy way.

    Also? I haven’t been here for a while, clearly, the site is looking lovely!

  3. Totally agree! Just because something works for some, or even for “most” doesn’t mean it works for all. One size does NOT fit all! A good friend of mine was turned away from 12-steps (and dating web sites) because she isn’t religious. That seems so strange to me. Shouldn’t there be some place, some tiny special corner, where non-religious people can also get help? Why turn them away? She doesn’t worship the devil, she just doesn’t believe in God, and she needed help. She eventually helped herself, but was very put off by the experience, and it may have caused a backslide. Good for you for writing this.

    1. Sure. Any meeting you attend. The recovery programs state this about Higher Powers. We have come to realize we are powerless over drugs and only a “power greater than ourselves” can return us to sanity.
      A Power Greater than Ourselves.
      This can be God (Christianity) or any other source of Great Power.
      As long as you can draw great feelings of power from it, it’s your Higher Power.
      Nobody has to believe in God to participate in a Recovery Program.

      1. Honestly, my idea of God has changed DRAMATICALLY over the past 14 years. I was raised in organized religion and it really affected my ability to connect with the idea that “God” could mean whatever helped me let go. Today my relationship with God is completely personal and it doesn’t bother me at all if people have different ideas of who or what God is. I thank God I didn’t have to believe in anything specific to recover from alcoholism. I just had to believe in something.

        Thanks so much, Rob!!

    2. Thanks, Joy. I don’t understand how we can still think that every alcoholic or addict came from the same cookie cutter in 2014. Obviously if only one thing worked, there wouldn’t be so many other options! I appreciate your thoughts. Thanks again. XO

      1. The 12 step program does not require you to be a Christian. If the meeting your in tells you differently, they dont know the program. It simply states that we are powerless over drugs and only a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity. A Power Greater than Ourselves. You need to draw strength from your higher power whatever it may be. I have seen Deceased Relatives, the Ocean, the Rain Forest all be chosen as a place they connected to the earth.

  4. Everyone is just so insecure. Any choice/path another person takes that is not the same as your own must be judged, debunked, destroyed. It’s unbelievable to me. Keep on fighting the good fight.

  5. Recovery is a state of being. It cannot be compared nor judged.
    In the world of Drug Addictions, Recovery means to return to the life you had before you became a drug addict. In control of your actions related to drugs. I find some of the short timers (people with little recovery time) statements to be unsupportive of others and unsubstantiated in the history of recovery. In order to not make enit in classmies and further more sound like a fool, you should stick with the things your sure of.
    I don’t participate in meetings anymore and I assure you, I am in recovery!
    I have 7,300 days or 20 years of recovery. There are many ways to set yourself up for failure or relapse. Everyone’s different. Support others rather than criticising them and you will be much better off.

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