When I was a newcomer to recovery I heard over and over about the gifts of sobriety. I kept hearing others share that they never knew life could be so good; that they never could have dreamt of life as it was for them since they made the decision to recover. I heard the Tenth Step promise that by the time we reached this step, alcohol would no longer be an obsession and that we would recoil from it as from a hot flame. I heard The Promises long before I was half-way through and wanted all of them like I had never wanted anything before in my life.
Today I am no longer a newcomer and everything I heard, everything I was told would happen has, in fact, happened. More important is that I learned that each person’s recovery journey is different and what constitutes a “good life” varies from person to person. If you attend meetings on a regular basis, you get to know people and at least a piece of their story. Achieving the good life for some is to finally be able to secure a decent job and begin making a living honestly and soberly. For some the program has given them a second chance to be the mom or dad they had always wanted to be for their children. For most of us, the gift of recovery has given us the ability to think clearly and make decisions that are unselfish and made with the help of a Higher Power. Some folks in the program become successful for the first time in their lives.
None of these are earth shattering to most “normal” people. Learning about life and how to live and how to have good relationships, how to love and be loved, how to change all of those defects into attributes and countless other things are what makes life good today. These are the things men and women in sobriety talk about that have made their lives better than ever.
The gifts of recovery have nothing to do with tangible things. I know I had personally heard many stories in early sobriety about people who achieved great wealth after remaining sober. All I can say is, “good for them!” For most of us, this will not be in the cards. The beauty of 12 Step Recovery is that it offers all of us equal opportunity to be wealthy spiritually and emotionally.
No one knows what gifts sobriety will bring us and it is important to take a look at everyday life. The gifts we are given are sometimes given quietly; sometimes in a big way. I have recognized one of each within the past few days which is what I want to share with you. I invite you to take a look at your last few days/weeks and recognize at least one gift that you were given in sobriety.
I have two younger sisters. One is two years younger than I and the other ten years younger. We love each other but we have lived in different parts of the country for many years. We have never once had the time or the means to spend a few days together…just us girls. This week they are coming to visit me for our first sister’s weekend. We will spend a couple of days in Sedona which is about the most magical place in the world to me. But the excitement will be to spend time with two of the people I love most in this world and I will be sober. I will be able to enjoy and love them with a sober body, mind and soul.
My other gift happened just today when my youngest daughter called me. Like my sisters, she lives on the other side of the country but we speak quite often. She asked if I would be willing to talk to one of her friends who has two little babies and an alcoholic husband. I couldn’t say “yes” fast enough. Why? Of course I wanted to help her friend but the gift was that she asked me. She has rarely acknowledged my disease as she was the one who took the brunt of it. When I flew cross country to make my amends to her, she ended the session with, “Yeah, okay, are we done?” You can see why her asking me had such an impact.
The gifts of sobriety are many. They may not be obvious to anyone but us. These gifts are the sources of our gratitude. We know that more will always be revealed to us so even the things that may seem difficult or unbearable can be a gift if we choose to look at it in a certain way. The bottom line, though, when all is said and done is that the biggest gift of all is sobriety. God is good!
Namaste’. May you walk your journey in peace and harmony.
If you are on Facebook, go to Grateful Recovery and choose “like”. It is only an extension of my writing here but would love to see it grow.