There is a difference between recovery and abstinence. It took me close on ten years to figure out the difference between the two. One is a fight, the other is freedom. I’ve often heard people saying that it’s a constant fight to stay clean. In my opinion that is abstinence, if you are truly in recovery there is no fight. The desire to use has left me and my days are about freedom of choice. I know I can decide to use if I want but I don’t have that pull any longer. Don’t get me wrong, obsession is still alive and well in me, it just manifests itself in other areas of my life or tries too.
I have the ability to “log” off and sit on the couch all day watching TV. I also have the ability to let my need for pleasure take over and run my life, I don’t mean with drugs or alcohol. If something like sex makes me feel good, I have ability to become too dependent on it. The pleasure centre of my brain is abit broken it seems, my experience shows me that I will do whatever it takes to feel good. One key aspect of addiction I need to remember is that if I’m a drug addict, using drugs doesn’t satisfy that craving. If I’m an alcoholic, drinking doesn’t soothe that thirst. It shows me that the drugs were not the problem. The problem is me and what’s inside of me. My coping mechanisms are did functional, my ability to handle stress is limited, and I coped with situations by putting chemicals into my system, an exterior feeling exterminator if you will. Something had to change.
My life is not easy, I still have my struggles. My life is simpler though, I have a basic routine that I follow that seems to help keep me in check. I do all the same things that got me clean at the beginning of recovery and guess what? A miracle happens, I stay clean. Those few simple things are as follows;
- Remain honest
- Be accountable to someone
- Ask for help and talk about what troubles me
- Meetings, meetings and meetings
- Step work
- Step 3 action
- Keep my space clean
- Surround myself with people who have the same goal as me
- Reach out to others in need
With those 10 simple steps, I find that my life stays even, I don’t go super hyper and I don’t go super low. It can be predictable but its serves a higher purpose. Through my routine and structure I can gage where I am. If certain key elements of my routine are not being done consecutively it puts up a red flag for me, saying check yourself. What’s going on here? Then I’m usually able to make adjustments and continue forward.
Recovery isn’t about not using anymore it’s about change and growth. Finished.