Recently, my biggest goal has become to learn balance in my life. When I look back on my life experiences, I believe the times that I was my absolute happiest were when I had a pretty solid balance of work, family, exercise, friends, etc. in my life. Being an addict, I tend to get sucked into whatever my brain wants to focus on, and everything else gets set aside. Since I got into the U before the required 3 sobriety years, I have thought a lot about how I need to take care of myself through school and what my priorities will need to become. The 3 year rule is really just to protect addicts who want to help other addicts from relapsing under the stress and pressure of that career. To avoid that happening to me, my biggest goal right now has been to figure out what I need to do for me and my sobriety in order to make sure I am in a solid place with myself and my own recovery program, and I won't become triggered and relapse from going into the program too soon.
The past couple of weeks, I have really tried to go out of my comfort zone and work a very rigid recovery program for myself. Since January, really all that I have done is abstained from addictive substances and gone to my therapist from rehab weekly. This has worked out just fine, but I felt the need to reach out to the recovery community in SLC, try different treatment approaches, and figure out what will be best for me. I have never really done 12 steps or AA/NA, so I have been working on fitting some of those meetings in more regularly to see if it will work for me personally and also to see how I can incorporate those principles into my future career in Social Work and Substance Abuse Counseling.
This has given me A LOT of time lately to ponder the first step and what it has meant for me over this last year.
While in the middle of an addiction, everything can seem so hard and complicated. BUT, I firmly believe that every addict gets to a point where it is a very simple decision: live or die. Those are the only choices. To live, means to surrender. It means to surrender to the power your addiction and hand it over to God or a higher power to get out of this dark place. I honestly don't think that addiction is taken seriously enough to where people treat it like the terminal illness that it is. It has that aspect of free agency in the early stages, so aspect can really take it away from the seriousness that addiction ends either by recovery or death (you don't meet very many people who have been constantly addicted some something for 20+ years...hmmm), just like any other terminal illness. The only way that I can really imagine it in my head as a true terminal illness, is if I went to the Dr. for an entire year with a massive tumor in my brain that was going to explode and kill me really quickly, unless I gave that tumor the attention and medicine it needed to survive much longer. It really is essentially the exact same- both terminal brain illnesses...except addiction is fortunately treatable if the addict agrees to do what it takes.
I will never forget the details of my surrender on November 14 ,2013. Even though I was really drugged up in that moment..those thoughts, feelings, beliefs, etc were so strong that I will never forget them. I look back on some of those overdoses, and cannot deny the fact that God literally saved me. I shouldn't be here, but I am. So why? Because I am lucky, cool, special...I honestly can't answer that. But, in the moment of surrender, I knew and still know that I am meant to be a tool in my Father's hands and my story is just beginning of my new life. Ever since I surrendered to my father and made the decision to seek the treatment and help that I needed, I have never felt at more peace for so long. I have never felt more fulfilled. I have never felt more purpose. I remember in high school and college, I always was alone, empty, and bored. My brain wouldn't stop spinning into the late hours of every night. I didn't realize how much depression and anxiety that I was battling, until I surrendered and it went away.
I know that every story is different and every addiction is a beast of its own. But, I will say that I completely believe that until an addict surrenders and makes the clear decision that is required to change, that addict won't be ready. Having loved addicts, I know how frustrating this can be. Why can't they just stop? How many rock bottoms can it take? My answer to that, is to rely on God's time. He will give every addict that opportunity to surrender and gain peace and happiness. We all just might need to deal with a lot of crappy times to really appreciate sobriety and recovery. It's not even a matter of having bad times to appreciate the good times, because there will always be days where I will wish I could take something or have a drink. Sobriety isn't this beautiful, blissful, happy process. It's hard. It has pushed me further than I even knew was possible. BUT, once you surrender to God, I truly do believe that you can find a sense of peace that you didn't know was possible. That peace is what drives recovery and sobriety more than anything else. That surrender will always and forever be a sacred, quiet moment where God testified to me of my purpose and meaning. He showed me my place in this world and the world to come. I have honestly never felt that strong of the spirit of God in my entire life.
Yes, addiction is a terminal illness and kills victims EVERY HOUR. But, there is a cure and miracles do happen.
I share these thoughts, because even if you can't relate to the specifics personally, or by the far off chance you don't have a loved one with an addiction, this is applicable to all aspects of life. It is part of the plan. It is why we are all here and in this together!