I want to start out by thanking Cate for inviting me to share on this great site. And I want to let you know that being called an “expert” is slightly more than terrifying. I have a great deal of respect for women and men who work as professionals in the addiction recovery field, and I am (slowly) working towards a life coach certification to coach recovering women one day, but I’m not there yet. For today, I’m just another woman living in recovery.
Twenty some years ago, I surrendered to the fact that I was an addict. I didn't come into recovery at the "height" of my drug-using insanity – the crazy days for me were years earlier, before I had my two beautiful daughters. I found that I didn't have to be using like my former crazy person self in order to hit a bottom. When I stopped using drugs in 1989, it was because I believed with every ounce of my being that I had really, truly and finally had enough. I wanted a new reality, to find a new way to live, mostly for my daughters. I always say that I got into recovery for my kids (yes, I believe you can get clean and sober for other people) but I stayed in recovery for myself.
For the past 24 years, I have been finding my way back to myself. I think that’s what recovery is – recovering our potential, our hopes and our dreams. For most of the past two decades I have worked a program of recovery, and sought a heck of a lot of outside help. My recovery run was interrupted with insanity just once, in 2000. For a couple of days, I took prescription narcotics to deal with some overwhelming grief that I just didn't think I could bear. I chose not to bear it, I guess. I took the narcotics as prescribed – unfortunately they were prescribed to my mother, who had just died. I did not, at that time, consider taking those pills a relapse in my recovery. When I re-thought that idea four years later, I changed my recovery anniversary date and starting "counting" all over again.
Tonight I will celebrate 13 years of abstinent recovery with a bunch of miracles and a cake (no, I haven’t managed to give up sugar – yet). This last 13 years of abstinent recovery has been as amazing at the first 10. I’m fortunate that my two days of using in 2000 didn’t turn into the rest of my life. I don’t plan on experimenting again.