Started out my morning with a huge orange and measured cup of blueberries. Brewed a cup of matcha Japanese green tea. Took Ginger, my Golden Retriever, to her breakfast kennel, fed her and my two Australian Shepard dogs, Brandy Delilah and Lucky Samson (Sambo) before filling my mixed breed cats’ bowls with their Cat Chow breakfast.
Before I leave the house at about 9am to go to my orthodontist’s office, I will have done some dumbbell lifts. Life today is about taking care of myself and taking care of as many of God’s other creatures as my finances will allow.
Life to me today is also about balance. I try to stay interested in many things, and to obsess on nothing. My highs are not that high and my lows are not that low. I live neither in a state of euphoria nor depression. I experience God, but am not a religious fanatic or zealot. I do not depend on God as if God were a drug.
I have recovering friends, friends who are social drinkers and family members who still use cannabis and alcohol. Many of my friends were never addicts. I do not restrict my relationships to only people in recovery. It is not necessary for me to do so today. I am happy with my life. Using drugs would interfere with much of what I enjoy today, so only rarely are they even a temptation.
I am a writer. I write about many things. I love reading the recovery stories and daily thoughts of others, but with over twenty years of non addiction history behind me, my mind is not focused on my recovery or abstinence from drugs twenty four hours a day. It is focused on hobbies, my pets, my loved ones and doing the next right thing. It is focused on what I can do to help others experience the fullness of life I do.
I recently retired from full time service, and hope to begin part time counseling work soon. The publishing of my recent novel, Undercover: Our Secret Obsessions, was about lifting the stigma associated with addiction, as well as the mistrust of the recovery process. I want everyone to know recovery is possible.
Recovery that does not end in relapse is not about the years involved, though those years can teach much. It is about the quality of one’s life. What else are you doing besides abstaining from drugs and alcohol? That is the question you need to ask yourself. Who are you close to who never used drugs non-medically at all? What can you learn from non-addicts about drug free life skills?
If you have been drug free for over six years and are still dependent on 12 step meetings to keep you sober, you need to expand your horizons. At this point, you should be attending meetings to teach others how to stay sober, as well as to encourage them to do so. The fullness of the life you don’t want to lose should do it for you. If it doesn’t you have not learned how to use your recovery to expand positive life experiences, and you may well be one of those bored lifeless examples I hear so much about who relapse to drug use after years of recovery.
It isn’t that you quit attending meetings or “focusing” (obsessing) on your recovery after all those years. It’s because you never really started living drug free in the first place. Your options remained to use or not to use. How small is your world? When you discover a drug free life for real, the questions and your options change.