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Recovery is a Journey, not a Destination

When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.

–Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Newcomer

Initially, I was excited about recovery. I felt better for a while. I hate to say it, but now that I’m not at the beginning any more, everything seems worse. I feel more cynical than ever.

Sponsor

What you’re experiencing is part of the process of recovery. Many of us go through a “honeymoon” phase in early recovery. Our craving may feel miraculously lifted. Change feels easy, and hope replaces despair.

Then, life feels difficult again. We may perceive ourselves as having gotten worse, but that’s not accurate. What’s really happening is that, though our addictive craving has been treated, we still have our old problems, habits, and states of mind. We may be getting through the day, showing up for our work responsibilities, attending 12-step meetings, but not having much fun. We may wonder if what we’ve heard is really true – that “our worst day in recovery is better than our best day of active addiction.” We may wonder whether recovery really is the answer after all.

Our doubt makes clear to us that we have to do something. Staying where we are is too uncomfortable. We can attend a 12-Step meeting and read program literature to begin to familiarize ourselves with our next Step. For spirits in need of healing, 12-Step work leads to the next phase of recovery.

Today, I have the courage to move forward in my journey of recovery.

Working an active 12-step program of recovery is imperative to my ongoing recovery. When I first got clean and sober, I fully immersed myself into the recovery process. I started going to meetings, I got a sponsor, and I started working the steps. Further, I made lots of friends that were in recovery. My first year of sobriety, I spent most of my time doing recovery related activities. Or doing things with people that were in recovery anyways. I learned how to have fun with people in recovery. I learned to have fun without drugs and alcohol. Being sober 4 ½ years, I continue to work an active program of recovery. I go to 12-step meetings on a regular basis, I have a sponsor that I connect with almost daily, I have sponcees that I work with, I have a home group, and I have several services commitments. There are several other things I do that compliment my recovery as well. This includes morning prayer and meditation, staying connected to my Higher Power throughout day, yoga and exercise, a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep. As long as I continue to work an active program of recovery and as long as I stay spiritually fit, I will not have the desire to drink or use drugs.

Being Open

Sometimes we think we’re supposed to have more recovery under our belts. Perhaps we feel the need to impress our peers with our success in staying off mind-altering chemicals. But perhaps we are really just trying to convince ourselves. We know how difficult recovery is, and surely our Higher Power is not fooled by our pretense of well-being.

If we try to hide our problems, we cannot get help for them. To get help we must tell people where we’re really at. No one can read a closed book.

Am I open with others?

Higher Power, help me believe in the saying, “Ask and you shall receive.”

I have been sober since March 2011, and I plan on keeping my sobriety date. I do not have the desire to drink or do drugs today, and as long as I stay connected to the program of AA, I keep on working a program of recovery, and I stay spiritually fit, it will be unlikely that the urge to drink or do drugs will resurface. I do have problems today and I have learned to live life on life’s terms. I have lots of friends in recovery that I can turn to when I need feedback or support. My friends in recovery give me the suggestions that help me make the right decisions. I need my friends from AA. I need my sponsor. And I need people to tell me what to do.

Growth is the only Evidence of Life

Growth is the only evidence of life.

–John, Cardinal Newman

We should be thankful we can never reach complete serenity. If we could, we would never have the need to improve ourselves. We would stop growing, because there would be no reason to learn any more than we already know, and we would become bored. Even the things which seem so serene in nature usually contain a struggle within. A lake, with a swan gliding slowly across it, seems a perfect picture of serenity. But, unseen below the surface, fish, turtles, and frogs struggle each day for survival.

The important thing is to accept the struggles as a part of the beauty of life, not as blemishes on it.

There is either growth or decay. It is not possible for a living organism to be totally stagnant. A person is always changing, either changing for the better or changing for the worse. This is true when it comes to the mind, body, and spirit. A person is either becoming more spiritually fit or less spiritually fit. A person is either becoming closer to God or further away from God. A person is either getting closer to a drink or drug or further away from a drink or drug. My experience is that if I am working a 12-step program of recovery, I stay spiritually fit. Working a program of recovery to me means morning prayer and meditation, being grateful for things in my life, going to meetings, talking to my sponsor, being of service, and reaching out to another alcoholic. I am grateful that I have learned to be in acceptance and to live life on life’s terms. I am grateful that life is not perfect. I am grateful that I am sober and thinking clearly.