How has recovery affected you?
Recovery has given me a life. I didn’t want to recover the old me–I was able to find out who I can be.
My addiction to alcohol almost cost me my life on December 9th 2016. I was in active addiction for 12 years before that and came to realize and accept that I was going to die an alcoholic’s death, full of misery, pain, and loneliness. I couldn’t do that to my family and I wanted to believe I was worth something and my life wasn’t just a series of heartache and disappointment. I made the decision to get sober and enter a program of recovery on December 10, 2016 and just celebrated 20 months of sobriety. My life has flipped upside down. I am finally a father to my kids, a husband to my wife, and a good employee to my employer. I now work with people with substance addiction and it is by far the most rewarding thing I have ever done career-wise. I use it as my 12th step. My journey has taken me to Hell and back and to the brink of death, but I am standing here today to say recovery is possible if you work for it.
It has been both a challenging and fulfilling experience for me. I have tried for many years without success, but my experience in Pittsburgh has been more conducive to recovery. The support systems here have been more beneficial for me than anywhere else. Recovery means I am more present for my family and myself.
It’s a generational thing and for us, it’s hereditary. And I know my father’s looking at us and he’s proud of us because he’s gotten to see his daughter and his granddaughter both be clean and sober. I feel we’ve been given the greatest chance we could be given – a second chance at life.
I started drinking at a very young age about 13 by age 23 I made Western Psych a couple visits and went back out for another 25 years. In ‘95 I ended up in St. Francis. My liver was giving out. My gambling debts were out the roof, and my wife was filing for divorce. My anniversary’s coming up this august, my home group has been in this building [The Onala club] for twelve years. Twelve years of beautiful recovery.
The experience I’ve had…changed my life forever. And impacted an infinite amount of people around me to have better lives too, just from me being a better person. I see my daughter on a regular basis, I pay my child support like I’m supposed to. I pay my taxes, I pay my bills.
Recovery has given me a chance to try to make my city a better place. During my addiction, I wasted a lot of time. Now, I can hopefully leave a legacy as someone who turned his life around and tried to have an impact on other people.
My boss used to leave literature on my desk at work. My mom would always end our conversations on the phone, “How’s your drinking?” When I got married, I really didn’t know how to be a husband. When we had children, I didn’t know how to be a father. Alcohol and drugs, that’s who I was married to. My sobriety or clean date is December 27th, 1987. I’m recovering from a lot of things. At the time I was recovering from alcohol and drug addiction. It really enlarged into recovering my spirit.
I was really struggling. I don’t know what would have happened to me if I hadn’t gotten into recovery. I still struggle sometimes, but overall I feel optimistic that I can change and become healthier. Recovery has become the foundation for the rest of the change and growth in my life.
I don’t think I have anything different to say about my recovery than anybody else has but I do know I was helped into my first AA meeting utterly devoid of hope. I was helped back out at the end of that meeting with a sliver, just a sliver, of hope. I’ve had at least a sliver everyday since then. I like what my first sponsor would say at the end of giving his lead: AA saved my life and made my life worth saving. For me it’s as simple as that.
Recovery has brought me a sense of peace and serenity that I did not know was possible. It has also provided me with incredible perspective.
My disease had taken everything from me. Recovery gave me a life. I am blessed and have hope today. Recovery is not only abstinence, but a lifestyle change. My life today is so rewarding. I have a wonderful job at a treatment facility, a loving, healthy and happy family, and I am not the center of the universe any longer. Being of service to others is a priority to me today. My gratitude speaks today through my actions. I thank God for my new life!
Recovery has given me a life I don’t have to use drugs to deal with.
It saved me from a miserable life being a drunk and an addict.
Recovery gave me a life worth living and a heart of compassion for those that struggle to find hope.
It has given me the relationship I always knew I could have with my sweet little boy and loving husband. It has also shown me that I can still be a nurse and help others, I just have to take care of me first.
Recovery has given me my life back!! Well maybe I should say that recovery has allowed me to LIVE a life! On March 11, 2013 I woke up and said today is the day, 50 days after quitting smoking. One year sober, I filed for divorce, and I’m happy to say that happiness has found me now.
I was a daily drug and alcohol user from 12 to 50. Nothing stopped me from doing what I wanted to feed my addictions…I’ve lost jobs, houses, cars, a wife and for the most part a son. I lost myself. Well, I never knew myself is more accurate. In 2012, I tried recovery on my terms. I failed after about a month. In February 2014, I surrendered to the program of Alcoholics Anonymous and by “thoroughly following our path” I have been clean and sober since. It takes work, but if I take the action I get the results. There is nothing special about me…nothing. If I can get clean and sober, anyone can!
I still struggle every day. Recovery is hard and it never gets easy, but it does get easier. I know that everything happens for a reason and I’m who I am today because of everything that I’ve experienced. I still believe it’s made me a better person. I’ve learned what works for me may not work for others and that sometimes I still slip, but I can pick myself up; it’s not starting over, but just starting again, with more knowledge and strength than before. I’ve learned I have to take care of myself and that it’s okay to say ‘no’ and it’s okay to not be okay. The people that really love you will stick with you no matter what and in the end that’s all that’s important. Getting help is not giving in or giving up, but allowing yourself to see the sittuation for what it is and address it. I hope that by sharing my story, I can shine a light for others in their darkness. Recovery is possible. Life has meaning. It’s okay to get help. I am proud of my mental illness and how far I’ve come. I’m a survivor and I won’t give up.
I began to entertain the idea of recovery when I was twenty- I knew if I didn’t stop drinking I’d follow through with my plans to commit suicide. Recovery gave me a life with all the parts that make a life possible: it gave me the ability to have a favorite color, to walk without craning my head toward the cement, and to accumulate memories from one night to the next. Years away from this era, having dedicated countless hours to my addiction and my mental health, my life is unrecognizable. The deeply injured person who decided sobriety might be worth it could never have imagined the ease and peace with which I am able to move through my life today.
Words can’t really express how recovery has affected me. The “before and after” of my life is night and day – I call this my Bonus Life, because I would have died with how I had lived before recovery. It has taught me how to be survive being HUMAN, and has connected me to a community of people exactly like me, but also has connected me back to my family and loved ones, and truly replaced severe hopelessness with endless gratitude.
Addiction took over my whole existence. Everything I did was for the drugs. Half the things I did to get high made me sick. I never wanted people lose that trust in me. I never wanted to hurt anyone. I never wanted to do bad things. Constantly, I would have guilt and feel disappointed in myself which would only keep me wanting to get higher than before. I’m ALIVE TODAY for a reason. There is a PURPOSE for me here. I didn’t go through all the shit that I went through to be quiet about it. I’m learning that! Honestly, without having certain women in my life during my years of trying to overcome my addiction and when I finally decided to get clean, then I probably wouldn’t have made it this far. Certain counselors, therapists, case workers and ladies that I met in recovery really helped me get through the toughest times. (You know who you are!) These were women that weren’t afraid to share their story……women that weren’t afraid to tell you how it is…..women that helped me get back on my feet and be a productive member of society…..women that were positive and had a happy spirit about life no matter what they were going through. These were (and STILL are) the women that were role models in my life at that time…..the women that I looked up to and thought ‘Wow, this is what I want to be like!’ I’m grateful that I had these ladies in my life and I know that is my purpose too!
Recovery has been a gift of a new life. We are coming on 10 years of continuous recovery and I have more and am in a better place than I ever thought I could be. With God and my supports, I am eternally grateful for this precious new way of life and will do anything to give back what was freely given to me. What a blessing to raise children and never have them see my husband or myself intoxicated. With God, all things are possible!
I was in a car accident in which I broke my back. I became addicted to prescription pain pills that were given to me for a couple of years by my family doctor. That’s all it took. I was a wife, a mother, but most importantly a mother, however, I was also now an addict. I never thought in a million years it would happen to me. I was a nurse, and because my prescription wasn’t able to be filled for 1 day, I took advantage of my position at work. I called in a script for myself. My conscience got the best of me, and I told on myself. I obviously needed help and this was my cry for it. I ended up going to prison for 2 years as a result of my actions. I am now 7 years and 7 months clean. I strive to be the best best person and mother that I can be. I hope that I am an inspiration and a life lesson for my son and others. Recovery is possible. It is a daily struggle, but it can be managed. I have lost so many to this disease. It’s time to break the stigma surrounding addiction. I’m a human, and a good person, I just mad a bad decision. Everyone makes poor choices in life that lead us to different paths, why is my bad decision any worse than others?
Recovery to me is a way of life; a process that has provided me the opportunity for another day of living my best life. Recovery has equipped me with the ability to love and be loved, to be a father, spouse, brother, friend, co-worker and son. After 22 years of substance use and feeling broken and dead inside, recovery offers me a daily reprieve at life I could never fathom. Recovery allows me to continue through life with a strength and courage I never knew existed. And the very best part of recovery that was shown to me is there is always more to learn and live.