What is recovery? From treatment to moderation to simply being sober, to many people it can mean many different things. To me it has a different meaning: continual improvement. I try to work my recovery in all areas of my life, and to practice improved thinking in everything that I do. The way I see it, recovery is as much a way of life as it is a way to get over an addiction or mental affliction. The more you put into it the more you get out of it.
Since I am a ‘newcomer’ to the whole sobriety game, I try to take as much as I can from as many different sources as I can. I live in a sober house and attend an intensive out-patient (IOP) program with several other people working their own recovery programs, so we can teach and learn from one another in a somewhat controlled environment. This is one way to practice my continuing recovery; to deal with things in a group setting, with the support and encouragement of like-minded and similarly afflicted people. It also gives me a chance to practice all of the skills and apply what I have learned. It also affords me the opportunity to glean things from people as they express their experiences working through their own recovery plans. Even though my sober living and IOP have been extremely helpful, I feel that none of my recovery would be possible without my continued commitment to improving my own life.
I was so stagnant in my former way of living that I never afforded myself the ability to improve. I was caught in a never-ending cycle of work, stagnant thinking and unhappiness. This is not an environment that encourages positive growth or— to be honest— much growth of any kind. But we are only able to truly improve ourselves if we are willing to commit to being honest with ourselves and admit that we do indeed need to change. This is much easier when you have hit rock bottom or even a ‘soft bottom’ as I have heard it said in many a 12 step meetingroom. But what about the person who simply wants to get their life back on track without having to lose everything, or has little experience with the negative effects of their using and/or the impact of not addressing their issues? Simply put, recovery begins when you want it to. You can begin to recover from an injury, a disease or an addiction whenever you or a professional of some type deem it necessary, but unless you admit that there is something that needs fixing and are willing to surrender to treatment of some type, nothing will ever progress. It is all about being open to improvement— being open to the awesome possibilities of recovery. Call it a search for a higher power, call it a search for truth— I just call it being open to a different way to live life.