The step 12 that I am familiar with reads like this:
Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to others and practice these principles in all our affairs.
I am sure the one you have memorized is similar, give or take a few words or phrases.
Maybe you don’t work a 12-step recovery, and that’s okay. You can still read and relate to this.
Two important things about sharing your message:
1. ) In early recovery carrying your message will help other people
but it will probably benefit you more than you are anticipating.
Most of us go in early on with a simple goal of encouraging someone-
well… anyone, or at least ….one person who happens to be listening to us.
The process & preparation involved in sharing in early recovery
is something that contributes and promotes more personal healing for us than we can see at the time.
*First there is the reflecting and writing part.
There is something really powerful about writing your very personal experience down on screen or paper with the intent to share.
It can be an overwhelming process, but overwhelming in a really, really great way.
It is almost too much goodness. Like, is this even real life?
It is remarkable how much has changed and how much peace we have found.
*Then, there is the reading it out loud to a room full of strangers who may or may not be there by choice part, that brings another level of self-healing.
Deep breaths and tiny prayers whispered before beginning won’t help you hold back the gigantic alligator tears that are coming.
They’ll come anyway.Keep speaking. Everything is still so fresh, and raw.
It is likely that a mixture of gratitude and disbelief will take over your entire body and there won’t be much you can do to stop it all from happening.
You are glowing and the happy is just seeping out of your skin.
You might have a wet sloppy tear soaked face and a runny nose, but
you are alive and this experience is surreal.
What you are really hoping is that one human hearing your words needs to hear these words.
That one heart out there is feeling a little bit of relief hearing how much you have come back from, and how resilient our spirits really are. Someone is connecting with your message. They hear you telling them how accessible and free grace is. They can see that the hard work won’t have to be done alone. Someone out there just might keep trying because of something that you say.If you can stand up there all sober and grateful, then surely, anyone can.
2.) The ways that you carry your message won’t always look the same. (and that’s okay!)
Over time the way that you carry your message will shift according to where you are planted.
We all have a specific gift and different ways of connecting with people.
So of course how we connect with people will change and grow as we change and grow as people.
For me, as time has passed the focus of my story has shifted little by little.
It has become less about me and the details of my specific journey as an individual,
and has become more about helping other people to embrace whatever God has in store for their lives.
We are everywhere carrying our message.
Some of us are more boisterous than others, but we are out there.
We are living and sharing stuff.
We have worked hard and have learned the value of living well; we strive to lead healthy lives, living as the best versions of ourselves. We are everywhere. All twenty threeish million of us.
Living sober has offered us the opportunity to uncover our life’s true purpose,
and we are free to take our message of hope with us wherever we go.
So embrace your story.
Allow it to change and grow with you.
Don’t be afraid to own your experiences.
Do what you can with what you have from where you are.
Take your message to other people.
I know there is someone out there who needs to hear what you have to say.
This is a huge part of our story.
For some of us, our past is not pretty.
Maybe we have caused a lot of pain.
Maybe we have experienced trauma, and hurt.
Many of us have made a lot of mistakes and we have hurt people in the process.
Although our past might be a dark place, it is a place that we have learned to appreciate.
I really don’t like the saying that our past is ‘just a story’. It is a very, very, real place.
Not only does it play a role in who we are now, our experiences allow us to develop wisdom; our past tells a story, and it can teach us important lessons.
But sometimes it will be used as a weapon.
Here are a two examples:
We can use it to beat ourselves up.
Sometimes we use our past as an excuse.
Maybe we will start to remind ourselves why we should quit by using our past choices as an example of why we don’t deserve to live a healthy life.
So often we vow to never allow ourselves to forget the mistakes that we have made.
We punish ourselves. We beat ourselves up.
Other people might try to use it to beat us up.
Oh’ this. It angers me just typing about it. Definitively one of the biggest frustrations of my own Recovery. I know that all people who have struggled with addiction who are living a sober life have experienced this to some extent. It can feel like people keep a list handy of every single thing that we have ever done to them or anyone else. Our mistakes have been inventoried and are readily available to use at the disposal of people who don’t mind using this as a weapon.
Here are a few things that I try to remind myself of if my past is being used to torture me:
1.) Hurt people hurt people. Hurt people need time to heal, and just like we are healing, the people in our lives are healing too.
2.) The only thing that really matters is what you believe about yourself. Keep reminding yourself of this truth.
3.) Don’t let this anger you into slipping up. It was a huge trigger for me and had the power to send my mind spiraling out of control. It is not the end of the world if someone still thinks you are a piece of sh*t.
4.) If you are having a disagreement with someone try to leave the room if things get too emotional. Nothing good happens when it turns into a fight and anger is involved. People say things that they don’t necessarily mean, and recovery is not the place for drama.
If you are a loved one of someone in recovery, who is tempted to use the past as a weapon:
1.) Remind yourself that life is complicated and people mess up. They are trying their best to make changes in their life. Throwing these things in their face really only makes them feel terrible, and in turn, makes them want to use or not feel because it hurts so badly to hear how badly they hurt you.
2.) If you are on board, be on board. If you are not willing to learn how to communicate in a healthy way, you should respectfully excuse yourself from their life. Recovery is hard. Don’t make it harder on purpose.
3.) Learn things.
There are meetings for family members. You can talk and vent and learn with other people who know exactly how you feel and you can share your frustrations freely there with them. You are not alone in feeling hurt, or manipulated, or taken advantage of. Your feelings matter too and you deserve to heal and grow just as much as they do.
4.) Don’t fight dirty. If you are in a disagreement or a heated argument with your loved one, leave the room. Take some time to simmer down and regroup. Progress won’t if you talk when you are angry anyway. This way you can try to avoid saying all of the things that you are thinking. 🙂
Remember, healing takes time for everyone involved.
Each person will have their own timeline when it comes to mending emotionally.
Take your time, and play nice.
Today, I read an article on “Myths vs. Realities ” relating to Addiction problems.
Most of the Myths were the simple cookie-cutter misconceptions or skewed viewpoints.
Society likes to hold on to the one’s that perpetuate stigma.
Today I am going to talk about a common misconception that goes something like this:
“If you really want to quit you could just quit.”
We’ve all heard this one. In a literal sense, I suppose these people are right.
That assumption is logical.
I mean it just makes sense.
If you don’t want to do something, then—don’t.
However, this is not realistic.
Addiction doesn’t really align with logic..
Assumptions aside, in real life, making the decision to try to change can be done very simply.
The hard part is making that happen as simply and seamlessly like it sounds.
*The reality is—–
*Many people don’t have the desire to stop.
But there are so many people who do desperately want to change, but don’t know where to start.
*There are so many people who dream of the day their loved one reaches that point, where they reach out for help.
Yet so many who do reach out are met with no hands reaching out to help them up.
*We can desire to change, make progress, and make mistakes or have setbacks.
Most will just assume we just don’t want it bad enough.
*We have bodies that have changed chemically, that now are dependent on our drug of choice.
Yet the vast majority of people believe that we are forever trash, unable to do any better.
*There are many underlying emotional and psychological things going on under the surface.
It really does become something a little bit bigger than willpower alone.
It’s not as simple as having a desire to quit.
It’s not impossible, but it just isn’t as easy as it sounds.
There are many different factors and a lot of time put into developing a character that supports a physical and psychological Addiction.
Even if we have the courage to try to make some real changes, we will need a list of necessary tools in order to make progress in the right direction.
The truth is, most people struggling with addiction don’t have the proper support systems, or access to programs or treatment centers who can offer a solid support system in order for them to have a good chance at maintaining a lifestyle change.
It is going to take some time to “just quit.
Of course, there are people who I know who have have chosen not to take advantage of opportunities to enter treatment or to complete a program. But I am talking about the people who do want help; people who do want to change.
Let’s not make it even harder for them by shaming them or refusing to be kind.
Sometimes people need a little bit of help, and a ton of Grace.
If you are a myth believer, or a stigma perpetrator….
Please attempt to view sick and hurting people in a different way.
“It isn’t that hard.”
A person who is struggling with addiction is fighting an epic battle.
The fighting is fierce and continuous.
It is tiring.
And it becomes more and more intense with each passing day.
It is a fight between
the person struggling with addiction,
and a third.
The quietest one of all.
The whisper of truth.
All 3 are striving to be heard.
The Person is saying:
How could I let this happen?
I hate myself.
I am not this person, or am I?
I can’t even want to look at myself in the mirror.
Maybe I won’t wake up.
No one will notice.
There is no going back now anyway.
I am too far gone.
No one will ever see me the same.
The Substance is saying:
F*ck the world.
You are fine.
One more time is not going to kill you.
(Who cares if it does?)
You have tried to stop.
You won’t ever be able to.
You are nobody.
Look at all that you have done.
Pick up the phone. Find more. You might not
Everyone has abandoned you.
This is who you are now.
No one cares.
It is us against the world.
The third voice is saying:
This is not who you are.
Do you remember who you are?
Look around, what are you doing?
These people don’t love you.
You are going to die.
You need to stop.
You do have things to live for.
Today can be the last day that you use.
Pick up the phone and call _________(insert name of a person who reached out to you here)
You can do this.
You are worth it.
There was a time where I would have told you that I truly believed that I had strayed too far from who I once was.
I believed that I would never know who I could have been.
I really thought that I been fooled by the voice of the substance.
Today, I would tell you that I was manipulated, deceived, and wholeheartedly believed the voice of the substance..….
but my real fear was that that third voice.
What if it had been telling me the truth?
Any amount of sober time, forced me to see myself for who I had become.
I did not like that.
I hated that feeling.
I hated seeing myself in the mirror.
I truly felt disgust and embarrassment at the thought of who I was and what my life had become.
If I could have told myself one thing- what would I have said?
I would have told myself that I am invaluable and worthy of forgiveness.
That is the one thing that I think I needed to hear all along.
Someone told me that despite all of my choices,
there was a God who loved me and created me to do something bigger than myself.
Someone told me that I was loved and invaluable.
Someone told me that it did not matter what I had done, or who I had become. My secrets could be revealed, and I would still be worthy of love. I wanted to know more.
That is what I want to tell other people.
Recovery is more than possible- it is promised, and you are worth it.
Becoming dependent on a substance takes time.
No matter what your substance of choice is, I bet we can all agree that the ultimate result of addiction is death-
but before that, there is this place where we live.
It is the last stop before physical death:
This is a place where nothing good happens.
No positive thoughts enter.
No smiles form.
Tears dry up.
Everything cuts deep -but isn’t felt at all.
On the surface, we show apathy for everything.
Neutrality is where we live, as long as our one need is met.
This is where we go before we die.
Some of us stay for a long period of time, and for others the stay is shorter.
Aside from drug dealers, liquor store clerks, other addicts, bail bondsman who know us by name, or people who we consider ‘friends’ there is usually no one else around.
No meaningful, intimate human relationships are left.
We have shut them all out, or they have had all they can handle.
How do we make it back from a place where we spend most of our time harming ourselves wondering why we haven’t died yet?
Well, it takes a village to tear the walls down.
The intense discipleship that has taken place in my life from the time of my overdose, right up until this very moment is absolutely breathtaking to think about.
God has placed so many people in my path who have all played a vital role in helping me to tear those walls down that I had built around myself, and in learning how to rebuild my life wall-free.
We really are stronger together.
If you are someone who is going through the difficult process of rebuilding after tearing walls down,
Here are reasons why we have to learn to let people in to help:
1. They help the walls to come down.
I get it. They’re our walls. We can get a tiny bit territorial of them and angry if we feel like someone is crossing a boundary or tearing them down too quickly. The truth is, they need to come down, and the faster the better. It is not going to feel good to see beyond them at first, but it is what is best for the long run. Let them crumble.
2. To Combat Negativity.
We are totally fine with being alone and walking alone, crying alone, worrying alone, and doing life alone.
But this is just not a healthy way to try to attempt lasting recovery.
Lies, shame, guilt, and other creepy things really prefer us to be alone and will thrive off our self-doubt.
need have to have some people around us to help us get through some of the tough spots that we will all face in early recovery.
We have to have people to help us separate the lies, and what the truth is, the facts, and the crap that we have been believing about ourselves for so long.
3. We can learn valuable things from others in Recovery.
No two walks or journey’s are the same but being around people who have been where we been makes us feel hopeful.
We see that they have made progress and have really turned their life around.
We really start to believe that maybe, just maybe we can too.
This requires us to be around people, to meet new people, and to be willing to put ourselves out there by attending groups, counseling, or meetings of some kind.
God works in many ways and one of them is through people.
He will use them in different capacities to love you back to life.
It took that first person in the long line of people who have been a part of my healing and recovery, simply looking into my eyes, and not seeing what I saw- they saw a person.
They saw broken.
They also just happen to know someone who knows what to do with broken.
The more that I study different substances, signs, symptoms, side effects, withdrawal discomforts and brain altering effects-I become more and more interested in prevention.
The bigger picture.
Not only do I empathize with people who suffer from and struggle with the powerful stronghold of addiction,
I am very concerned with the growing numbers and statistics of our young and curious teens who casually use street drugs and household products to get high.
I want to work to educate parents about the importance of talking with their young people living in their homes.
No longer should it be acceptable to sweep uncomfortable issues under the rug, or avoid them because of personal feelings of inappropriateness.
The bottom line is: You love your young people and your young people need to be aware.
They need to be talked to on their level, in a way that they can understand.
It is dangerous to assume that because you:
*Live in a nice home
*Your child goes to a great school in a wonderful district
*You are raising your children in a Christian or religious home
*You have no family history of drug use
*You kids know right from wrong
*Are involved with your children’s lives
You believe that drug use is an irrelevant or is a ‘non-issue’
and it does not need to be discussed in your home.
Drug use has never had a favorite demographic.
Try to ask yourself these basic questions:
-What are some ways to approach the subject with my children/teen?
-What age is appropriate for my children?
-My children know right from wrong. Why do I need to talk about this specifically?
-What household products should I know about that can get my teen high?
-I trust my teen. They will tell me if something is offered or suggested.
Maybe just start there.
It is as easy as googling some information and asking your kids some questions.
We should all just make sure that we are keeping the dialogue open.
We can play a part in decreasing the number of children who fall prey to this nasty epidemic.
Let’s arm them the best that we can with knowledge and good, solid, information.
Don’t forget love.
Find a CR meeting! –> http://www.celebraterecovery.com/find-a-group/