Last week I was fortunate enough to celebrate six years in the world of recovery from addiction and alcoholism. Like so many other sisters and brothers in sobriety, I could easily list a hundred things that are better on this side of the wall that addiction creates. That doesn’t mean everything instantly gets easy. It gradually gets easier.
It’s like learning to write your name. I watch my preschooler write hers, and it is slow and unsure. She puts so much effort into it, and takes intense concentration just to get the letters to form a shape the rest of us can associate with an alphabetical letter. We all started that way, yet somehow, we can write our names with fluidity. Our signatures become routine. After so much thought and care, we barely have to think about it. That is what recovery has brought me. It has become a part of me. Things that I used to handle with anger, yelling, and sometimes even violence, I can now handle with care.
When I find myself wondering what the hell is going on, I allow myself time to reflect and pray to something greater than myself to help me find answers.
You would think that this is a state of mind that all recovering addicts would never contemplate leaving. It isn’t so much that I want to leave it; I just want to figure out a way to have my fix, too. Sometimes it seems the healthier I get, the more I can convince myself that I am of such sound mind now that I can go ahead and drink. I’m different now. I would be able to figure it out this time.
There was a conversation about accountability going on at my house the other day. It made me realize that sometimes there is only one thing that keeps me sober. One single fact bounces me out of my delusions of being able to drink and pops the bubble. There is one person in my life that I know will hold me accountable. That person is my husband; who is also in recovery. If he knew I was drinking or using drugs, unless I sought help with the swiftness of a formula one car, he would send me packing.
One thing we agree on is that sometimes, the absolute best thing you can do for an active addict is walk away. I know a lot of people may find me cold and heartless when I say that I don’t stick by people, “no matter what.” If someone is compromising my recovery, my beliefs, or my physical/spiritual well-being, I will walk away. That doesn’t mean it is easy. It means that I love myself enough not to let anyone mess with my happiness. I know that my husband sending me out the door would be about him taking care of himself as much as it would be about me needing a kick in the ass.
As a recovering addict, it isn’t that I have a bunch of “no matter what” people around me that keeps me going. It’s those that would drop me like an illegal drug in a bust that help keep me on track.
The fear of losing my husband and children are a massive part of what has helped me stay sober. Those thoughts linger in the back of my head whenever I think I might be able to pull off a casual drink. So, for anyone that would kick me to the curb if I start drinking and using again…I owe you a large amount of thanks for six great years. May you hold me accountable for many more.