A warrior’s journey through recovery is one of surrendering, yet it’s similar to that of one on the battlefield. Of course, it’s not the traditional battlefield. It’s really a battle of the mind, of our thoughts and within our heart. A battle against all that doesn’t allow us to feel. It’s a journey that causes us to surrender. Sometimes more than once.
I surrendered over 7 years ago.
It’s been over 7 years since I chose to step into a better life for myself. Since I chose to seek help for my drinking. To stop numbing and running from the pain of my past. Since I choose recovery. To fight for my life. To surrender.
In an instant, I felt fear. So many questions came flooding into my brain. How would I deal with the emotional pain and trauma from my past? Can I really never have another drink? What about all those people that would reject me once they knew I had a drinking problem? Would I lose friends when I stopped drinking? Would people judge me? What do I do with all the shame and judgment? The stigma?
Would I be seen as ‘that person’?
Yes, lost of questions, but you know what I realized? None of those things mattered, not the fear, the judgment, shame, stigma, pain, worry etc. It just didn’t matter.
What mattered was my life. The type of life I wanted to live. How I was going to get relief from my pain, heal and recover from my past. My true identity. What type of person I wanted to become.
Equally important is how I wanted to grow and move towards a simple life full of meaning and purpose. Serving others from my experience. Spending good solid quality time with family and friends. My grandchildren! Being the best NaNa I could!
That’s what mattered the most.
So here I am. 7 years, 7 months and 6 days since I started my recovery journey. Since I stepped into the Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) I had one full-blown relapse right after I completed my IOP. It lasted for a month. Honestly, it was a horrific month.
Now I am I have been in solid recovery for
7 years, 3 months and 11 days.
or 3,828,275 minutes,
or 229,696,512 seconds.
That’s huge. It’s a lot of work. I learned that recovery should never be taken for granted. I’m always one drink decision away from lapsing. Picking up that drink. Just one quick decision. Yet, I remain in recovery.
Here’s the truth – my struggle is real and ongoing
Here’s the thing. I am going to get real honest here. It’s been a struggle lately. It doesn’t happen often, but fighting this is hard sometimes. It’s like this silent monster until it’s not silent anymore. Then the battle is on!
Just the other day I thought, maybe I will just go buy a six pack of a good strong stout beer. Nobody would know. I live alone and I don’t have anyone I have to account for or too. I could sit here in my little house and just drink it all.
The thoughts continued…Maybe I can drink socially. Maybe it was just the past loss and trauma that caused my drinking problem. Since I have healed a great deal and am in a better place in my life, maybe I no longer have a drinking problem. It’s possible that I could control it, right?
I go back to “nobody would know except me”. And that there is the key. That is what matters. I would know. I am the one that would suffer. Just like when I stepped into recovery. It was for me! Because I mattered.
Neither a lapse or relapse is an option
As I sat here thinking about that beer, I realized that neither a lapse or relapse is an option for me.
For fear that I’d become that person, I didn’t want to be. A person I didn’t like. I recalled all the hangovers, the blackouts unable to remember what I did the night before. The sprained ankles, stomach aches and lack of sleep. Not to mention the severe shakes I would get. I recalled the loss of control and sound decision making that led to potentially harmful situations.
Now just why would I want to drink? I decided I wouldn’t. I’d mean that I gave up on myself. On my hopes and dreams. On being the best person I can be in this world.
Certainly, I’d mean giving up so much. No, it’s not worth it. So each day, I’ll fight any urge to drink that comes up. I’ll choose to remain in recovery. To live my best life alcohol-free. To shine my light for others on this same path until they are able to do so for themselves.
What matters most!
My life mattered and I truly believe it would affect all those I am meant to serve. How could I serve others if I pick up that drink? I would actually be cheating others out of what I have to offer.
In light of all that, I chose to not go buy that beer! It’s just not worth it.
This experience has taught me a few things. As hard as it may be sometimes. – Feeling outside of the “societal norm”, cravings, missing social connections and having to feel all the emotional pain with no way to numb out.
I love my life in recovery!
It’s all about surrendering. Having control of my own decision making. Waking up with a clear head knowing what I did the night before, no hangovers, less sprained ankles, and solid friendships not based on it being a ‘drinking buddy’.
Most importantly – I like who I am and I get to experience all that life has to offer. All of it! The good, the bad and the ugly! I’m filled with gratitude as I am exactly where I’m supposed to be on this journey!
Surrendering to all that doesn’t serve us
Realistically, will this be the last time I fight to remain in recovery? Fight to not go buy that beer? No! Probably not. Will I always win the battle? I sure the heck hope so. I won’t give up, but I will surrender.
I’m a WARRIOR, I will not be discouraged. My heart and soul is all in. I’m surrendering. Cease resistance to feeling all that alcohol didn’t allow me to feel. Surrendering and letting God take control.
This photo right here is a tattoo I have on my right arm to remind me who I am!
To all you beautiful souls out there.
If you’re using any substance such as alcohol or drugs to numb or run from the pain of loss and trauma, steer clear of feeling any shame or guilt for where you are right at this moment. Similarly, it’s essential that you don’t buy into the stigma that surrounds the use of alcohol or drugs to help you cope.
Nevertheless, please know there is another way. I am living proof that we can survive loss and trauma without the use of a substance such as alcohol or drugs. That we can stay in recovery despite the occasional battles.
Therefore, I encourage you to reach out for help. A listening ear! There are so many people that get it. That want to help. To be your light until you can shine your own once again.
What Are Your Next Steps?
STEP 1 LET ME HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS
I can’t wait to hear your thoughts. So you struggle with drugs or alcohol just as I do? Are you hoping for more in life? Please comment below
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STEP 3 HOP ON A SHORT 20 MINUTE CALL WITH ROXANE
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