It’s not really about how much time you have in recovery. It’s how much recovery you have in your time.
Today is the one year sober anniversary of one of my closest friends…but she is so much more than just a friend. Chelsea is an amazing gift to the human race. She helped me get through one of the worst and darkest times of my life, and is still helping me (and many others) today. She is a powerhouse of wisdom and a living example of compassion towards everyone she meets. I have had the privilege of watching her grow and flourish in her career, her spiritual walk, her relationships, and her own personal awareness. Yesterday I asked her what she learned in her first year of sobriety, and here is what she shared with me:
What I Learned in My First Year of Sobriety
- Time is irrelevant compared to my level of spiritual fitness/self-esteem. It doesn’t matter how much time I can accumulate. If I do things or make decisions that compromise my walk, it’s easier to progress in a negative direction. This helps me to really take the “Just for today” saying to heart.
- I do not have to just merely react to people, places, and situations. I can stand firm in principles regardless of what is happening around me. I have control over myself and nothing else. This helps me to look at “my side of the street” while trying to keep it clean.
- Doing what was mentioned above is actually very hard after living in active addiction/survival mode for so long. It takes practice and can be very clumsy. Like in the part of the Serenity Prayer where it says, “the wisdom to know the difference.” I do not always have the wisdom to know the difference, but it’s something that will come from experience and maturity over time.
- When I do make a mistake and backtrack into old behavioral patterns and negative thoughts it does not mean I have to stay in that. I do not have to continue to act/make decisions that back me into a corner where I start to believe the only way out is using. I tend to get really down on myself when I do something I feel in my heart was not right/good enough. Using the “you can start your day over at any time” idea has helped me to see these situations as a learning experience and an opportunity to grow rather than regress.
- Not to put another person/place/thing on a pedestal. Although other people have helped me greatly in my recovery and I am extremely grateful for their roles in my life, I will never be able to get enough from another person to feel fulfilled. I can never acquire enough materials to reach happiness. This helps me to look to a higher power, God. Realizing that I can get fulfillment from God to give to the people, places, and things in my life. This has been really hard for me. I feel myself putting hope and even faith into the wrong things at times. I am grateful for this awareness because it gives me the ability to bring it back and surrender again.
- That I have a huge issue with overcomplicating things. I will sit with myself mulling over my problems to the point of confusion, leaving me exhausted and with nothing else to give. But the solution my problems is always SIMPLE. “Move a muscle, change a thought.” It does not matter what I think, —I do not have to figure everything out. Most of the time it’s just a matter of action. When I can use this tool, and do things in spite of myself, I find I have a lot more peace.
- There is no one way to recover. There is no time limit. There is no finish line or an “I’ve arrived” moment. People grow in different ways, shapes and forms. I am learning not to deny anyone’s recovery based on outside comparison. I am also learning not to deny my own. When I can think like this I feel like we are all on one level playing field, all just trying to get better. It helps me to see things with a sense of humility where I can learn from anyone.
Happy one year anniversary, Chelsea. It’s so encouraging to know and to see walking examples of the fact that living a life of recovery is such a beautiful thing.
If you’re still struggling in the deadly cycle of addiction, please know that you don’t have to do this alone. The Shores Treatment and Recovery is here for you. Give us a call and start your new day today.