I am blessed to have an 18 year old person in my life who I get to call my son.
I had many preconceived notions before he was born of exactly how I think he should be and would be. We were going to play sports together and I would coach him to become the perfect athlete in the sport of “his” choice.
What god gave me instead was a huge bond with a person that would change my life…and on some level…save my life.
It was my sons pain and the grace of god to allow me to see it….that prompted me to go get help for my substance abuse.
My son Tyler, has stood his ground over the years going up against society, teachers, parents, and his piers to becoming EXACTLY WHO HE WANTS TO BE – and not what anyone else (including me) wants him to be.
He was diagnosed with Autism an identity he refuses to take on. Not because he is ashamed…but because he is not that label.
He has fought for his freedom to be himself….and for that he has taught me to do the same.
When I think back of my days in active addiction and of just how much I relied on a drink or a drug to dictate the way I was going to feel, it’s astounding.
I relied on the liquor store man, the pill lady, the physicians prescription, the people I associated myself with…the certain hole in the wall restaurants I would take my child to…..I relied on it all to make ME feel better.
Then stripped of all of those people, places and things…I came into recovery and it was suggested to start relying on something that I cannot see…a higher power.
To rely on god for me today means to try and feel and connect with that source of energy that is everything. It creates everything is in everything and is just indescribable peace, contentment and harmony.
It’s freedom from desire…because everything I seek I already have.
It blows my mind that I, who was once so reliant upon getting high…need none of that today.
Recovery for me is a true process of learning to rely on a higher power and continuously awakening to the miracleson my path.
I wanted to share a simple tool that helps me to relieve anger, stress and frustration in my life. When I find myself upset by something that another person has done or said I try to put myself in their shoes.
I know it’s an age old saying. But I find this really works.
The disease of addiction lives, breathes and thrives in “self centered fear”. A useful way to try to combat the disease is to get out of self and to squash the fear.
For example: if someone lies to me, and my feelings become hurt…after I have a good cry or tantrum I will try to release the hurt using this tool.
I will say to myself “Danielle – have you ever lied before…and then why?” Obviously …yes and usually due to self centered fear.
It’s a tough pill to swallow but it brings me closer to forgiveness and then closer to feeling better.
I also have to say “Danielle if you make a mistake against another….how would you want them to treat you?” And I obviously would want to be treated with kindness, compassion and understanding.
The spiritual principles of recovery always bring me back to peace and freedom. It might not happen right away…but when I point my heart in that direction and start moving …then I am bound to get there.
This story really touched my heart. The mother was a “step ahead” with her kindness.
Sometimes I feel like my life is moving so fast that I am trying to be a “step ahead” with finances, house cleaning, groceries….all for me and MY family.
But what if I could be forward thinking in my gestures of kindness. If I could “SLOW DOWN AND GET KIND.”
If my focus can shift to “how can I serve” as opposed to “what do I need” then my whole being will feel better.
When someone is feeling uncomfortable in recovery and I see it….I can reach out and listen. When I know a fellow addict might not have enough money for a cup of coffee…I can kindly bring them one.
Recovery has taught me that self forgetting leads to freedom. Freedom from suffering on this earth. My spirit wants to give and be open to love. My spirit knows that giving and self forgetting brings joy. – And I just LOVE joy!
Being in recovery for me, means I need the others in recovery and I find them at meetings. After attending the same meetings over and over for years, you get to know the people and their stories. This can be both good and bad.
I realized when I was traveling to other states and countries and I was attending different meetings that I heard more of a message of recovery. I was able to focus more because the people were all strangers.
I knew nothing about them and therefore I had nothing to criticize or judge. I didn’t know how many times they had been married or if they knocked up a new girl or if they were currently cheating on their spouse. I knew nothing of their personality ONLY of what they were sharing. It is a beautiful thing those strangers.
This is not to offend anyone. I believe I need everyone in the meetings whether they share or not. The importance of the energy of a person wanting to get well sitting in one of those chairs is immeasurable.
I am human and I need to acknowledge my humanness so I can focus on the principles of recovery and not the personalities.
I am sharing this because it has been my experience. I seem to be more open to listening to strangers – I am far less critical and I receive more recovery for my sick head.
Last night I was in a recovery meeting where the energy was booming! A personal friend was receiving her medallion of 2 years. She was surrounded by people who had seen her come in, fight the good fight and survive and thrive one more day.
In recovery we are taught to receive tokens or symbols of our length of clean time in front of the others. It is taught that it is not for us to celebrate ourselves but it is for the new person in the room.
It is for the person that does not know that it is quite possible yet to get 30 days clean, 90 days – 1 year – 20 years. So by sharing our experiences we liberate the others and let them know it is possible – it’s HOPE.
I just realized I never really understood the true concept of hope until right now.
About 11 years ago when I was very new in recovery I had an experience that I will never forget.
I was living my life substance free for the first time in decades and every thought and emotion were painfully new. I did not understand much of anything except that I needed to stay clean no matter what.
I did everything that was suggested. Get the sponsor, go to meetings, ask god for help, thank god at the end of the day. I was doing the drill. But there were moments that I could not stand myself and there was depression and despair.
One of these awful days by noontime I had already had enough. I laid on my couch for a nap and one of my hands was hanging off the couch as I was falling asleep.
On everything that I stand for – something warm and beautiful put their hand in mine. I believe an angel/god was holding my hand. I felt it plain as day and I will forever be grateful for that moment in time. I was exhausted and it was much needed.
The hand of god touched mine and I get to carry that with me forever.
I never could have imagined that going through hell on earth as an addict would lead me to a place that I could experience the spirit of god in such a close and beautiful way.