This is the month that I acknowledge that I have made it to my ten-year mark.
Ten short years in recovery. No more squirming around searching for a place to land. It’s completely fulfilling here and I am still just as grateful as ever to live in this head space.
It has been a long decade of ups and downs, as I still continue learning more and more about myself and unlearning lies that I believed for too long about who I am.
Over the years, there has been a significant amount of shedding and loss, but also so much gained and gifted.
- 10 things I have lost (Because I chose recovery):
1. My desire to people please at the expense of my personal identity and mental-health status.
2. An inherent need to continually escape from difficult emotions, conflict, and endeavors.
3. My deep-seeded belief that I am permanently damaged and not as worthy or good.
4. The heavy blanket of guilt related to my long list of parenting mistakes that plagued me for years.
5. A need to be needed in order to feel validated and relevant or important.
6. Any desire to cultivate or tend to relationships that aren’t honest, solid, healthy, or authentic.
7. The mistaken idea that my false ego was rooted in something that resembled confidence.
8. My belief that I didn’t need anyone or that I was fine walking through life in isolation.
9. A level of comfort living closed off from any deep, personal, relationships or connection.
10. My ability to wallow for too long within the realm of a ‘poor-me’, victim mentality.
- 10 lessons I have learned (Through healing in recovery):
1. No matter how much you want to help, you can’t change other people.
2. No matter how much sober time we have, we never earn the title of: Sober Police.
3. Family is so much more and deeper than a simple biological connection.
4. There will always be at least one asshole who refuses to accept the new, updated, version of you.
5. Implementing and applying is just as, if not more important than the learning and absorbing.
6. There is a tiny bit of wisdom to be found even in the programs you don’t necessarily agree with.
7. Sobriety is about choosing alternatives to unhealthy coping or relaxation go-to techniques.
8. It really will not work if you refuse to accept and own the ugliest parts of your truth.
9. Slogans can be annoying and redundant, but they can also help at the right times.
10. Self-care is the most pressing & important aspect of long-term recovery, & relapse prevention.
- 10 ways I have been taken by surprise (The gifts of recovery):
1. It’s not as complicated or as impossible as it seems in the beginning.
2. Sober living isn’t synonymous with easy living. This is hard work; a lot of hard work.
3. Despite feeling uniquely fucked up, there are actually a lot of people who will ‘get’ you.
4. You may not stay on the same recovery path forever, it will change..as it should, as you grow.
5. The stressful days really aren’t ever as terrible as the worst day you had in your previous life.
6. You will be amazed at what your mind and body can do and how much you actually can change.
7. Letting go and forgiving isn’t actually the same thing as forgetting the experiences that shaped you.
8. Forgiveness takes up a pretty significant piece of the self-healing pie.
9. Balance is key to every recovery component. (e.g.. feeling proud, creating boundaries, giving back)
10. How much of your slack God will gladly take up and carry for you if you give him your heart.
There are still so many things that I am uncovering about myself. As I learn and grow and expose myself to different people and experiences, I am finding that I appreciate a new aspect of choosing to live sober over and over again. Things are always changing and it keeps it interesting. Maybe this is preciously why gratitude isn’t something we have to look too hard to find when we are living on borrowed time?
Here’s to the next ten.