Addiction Recovery: Many Options; Just Do It!

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Some of my friends in my 12-step community might not to be too happy with me after reading this post.

Oh well.

I’ve been doing this recovery thing for a while now, a little more than two decades, and one of the biggest revelations I’ve had is this:  There is addiction recovery beyond the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Not for everyone, of course.  There are plenty of people who contentedly keep their disease of addiction in remission via the 12 steps.  Please hear me:  I have no problem with the 12 steps if they work for you.   I know plenty of people, including yours truly, who work with that particular model as a means of maintenance.

But here’s my argument with many people in the 12-step community.  Some–not all–think it’s their way or the highway.  “If you want what I’ve got, do what I do, period.”

Please.

What happened to being open-minded?

(Full disclosure:  I spent a good many years being a 12-step disciple.  But working in the field of addiction recovery and educating myself about other paths to recovery caused me to step off my soap box.)

I no longer care how you enter recovery or how you maintain your recovery.  But I do care about whether you seek  recovery and then stay away from active addition.

I care about whether you continue to harm yourself or take responsibility for your needs and for your life.  No one else is going to swoop in and save you.  It’s your turn, baby.  What’s it going to be?

Now, here’s a caveat:  If you’re entering recovery for the first time, if you’re young and new or if you have medical needs, please seek out a professional or someone with experience.  There are plenty of qualified people to help guide your first steps.

Look, as a person in long-term recovery, I’ve had a number of years to really grasp the value of every second of this precious life.  I get that not everyone sees the world as I do.  I understand that for many, each day is a struggle just to get out of bed.

But let me tell you something.  I’ve had many, many conversations with people who once thought–assumed–their lives were worthless and meaningless.  They had nothing to live for, no one who really cared about them (or so they thought!) and all they could see in their futures were endless strings of hopeless days.

Every one of these conversations reached a mystical turning point.  Maybe the person saw a billboard, heard a song, or received a smile.  A new, tiny seedling of a thought–“Maybe I am worth something after all.”–crossed her mind.  Now, it’s three months, seven months, a year later and she is talking with me about the incredible miracle of recovery, about all the good in her life.

You are worth the miracle of recovery.  I don’t care how you get here.  Just get here.

Some online resources for help along the way, thanks to Faces & Voices of Recovery:

Online Recovery Support

Recovery Books

Wishing you countless blessings on your personal recovery journey.

Photo courtesy of JessicaCooper12

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