Recovery Is NOT A Competition
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.
“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 doesn’t not belong to one. 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.
This website 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.
12-step programs are wonderful, and they work for those who embrace them, but it would be silly to assume that they are 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 judgement 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
Julie Maida founded Sober Mommies in May of 2013 after a bout of postpartum depression made it impossible to keep up with her previous recovery routine. She is the contributing Editor-in-Chief, and also runs the non-profit organization in Massachusetts; where she lives with her amazing husband and three children. She has been in abstinence-based recovery since May 2, 2000.
Julie is eternally grateful for all the gifts of recovery and fiercely determined to advocate for, and connect, ALL women with the appropriate support and resources necessary to achieve their personal recovery goals. She writes about mothering with mental illness at nextlifenokids.com.