When we begin recovery we are told our lives will change. Over and over again, even today, I still hear people share that their lives are better than they could have ever imagined. The first part of that is definitely true. Our lives do change. As soon as we eliminate the addiction and are out of the fog, we notice a change—we feel a change. Physically we feel better; we can think clearly; and we are willing to believe that there is a Higher Power to guide us. Each day of sobriety brings us farther from the last day in our disease if we are willing to go to meetings, work the steps, find a sponsor, and eventually be of service. In other words, we will go to any lengths.
There is no timetable that says that we should feel a certain way within a period of time. Twelve-step recovery programs are “we” programs but each individual works at their own pace. Some will complete working the steps for the first time in a month or two; others may take an entire year. There are no rules and that is another reason why these programs work for addicts. Little by little (actually, one day at a time) we get back into the real world and what happens when we do? Well, it’s the real world isn’t it? Need I say more? Perhaps up to this time, it has been easy to be sober because there were no challenges. Even small problems may throw us off for the simple reason that we are now present to see what they are.
One of the things that many newcomers experience is that once sober their lives seem to fall apart. Again, it may be that they are seeing the problems for the first time or perhaps the wreckage of the past has come to life. I believe there are “tests” in life. When we pass these tests, we can become many things: stronger, loving, confident, faithful, trusting, honest…. everything and anything we strive to be. What if we do not pass these tests? We keep trying because there is a God who loves us no matter what and we all know He doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle.
I realize that when I hear someone talk how their life is better than they could have imagined, it doesn’t mean there were no struggles. It is also relative in a way because what life is to me might not be life to someone else. What is most important to me, as I’m waiting for the life I could never have imagined, is to know that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I don’t always realize that but I do know things happen for reasons whether or not it makes sense or not at the time. It is that “when God closes a door, He opens a window” sort of thing. I think about where I am today because something else didn’t work out the way I had thought.
My best examples are writing this weekly article and my job. All of my life I have wanted to write and have it published. If it weren’t for my disease, I wouldn’t be writing this at the moment and I never would have had the opportunity to write a book and have it published. In this respect, my disease or should I say, recovery brought me something that I probably would never have achieved in sobriety. I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
When I lost my job about four years ago, I was devastated. It was more about the income than the loss of a job. When I was hired a few months later, I was offered about half of my former salary. Within the past year I have made some gains but I’m still well below. This is the important thing. I am working with young adults in a career school. There is seldom a day that goes by that one of them doesn’t come into my office to chat. The chats could be everyday conversation but quite a few of them deal with addiction. This could be addiction of a boyfriend or family member or the addiction of the student herself. At times it is hearing about the DUI he or she received and the “unfairness” of it all! It is when I am engaged in these conversations that I realize that money or no money, I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
I invite you to look at some of the situations that made you uncomfortable or you thought were devastating. What happened after that made you realize that they did happen for a reason and put you exactly where you were supposed to be? I may still not have the life that is beyond my wildest imagination, but whatever my life is today it is God’s plan and it is good!
Namaste’. May you walk your journey in peace and harmony.
Like Grateful Recovery on Facebook. Kathy L. is the author of "The Intervention Book" available in print, e-book and audio