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[ Personal Narratives ]

Hi MY NAME’S EMILY AND I’M A RECOVERED ADDICT…

And I currently have just over 2 years clean and sober under my belt thanks to the love and guidance of a higher power, an amazing sponsor (even though my journey took me through a few sponsors before doing a 360 and going back to the first-who I’m now sticking with) and 12 step fellowships and actively putting in the next right action, I have escaped the misery, terror and pain of addiction and I have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.

I sat in a meeting once after having introduced myself as a recovered addict only to have someone slight the people who introduce themselves as recovered. But he’s not alone, there’s plenty of those I see doing this. Where did all this stigma over using the word “recovered” come from? Our the semantics of the wording I choose to use that important? 

The first promise in the big book, on the very first page, before all the prefaces and even the content states:

The Story of  How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism”, and the forward to the first addition as printed in 1939 states “We of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.”

To show other alcoholics precisely how we have recovered, is the main purpose of this book. The first paragraph of chapter 2 states:

“WE, OF ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, know thousands of men and women who were once just as hopeless as Bill. Nearly all have recovered. They have solved the drink problem” pg 20 “we have recovered from a hopeless condition of mind and body” pg 29 

Further on, clear-cut directions are given showing how we recovered. In the chapter “Working With Others” on pg 90 it states “his attention should be drawn to you as a person who has recovered”

The book tells me that many people have recovered and that I too can do the same, it tells me this in several instances. When I first found myself in “The Rooms” I felt hope that I too could recover.

The chapter “Working with others” is all about step 12 and carrying the message. It states that “his attention should be drawn to you as a person who has recovered” (his meaning the newcomer- you as a person who has recovered meaning the sponsor.) I go through the steps following precise, specific, clear-cut directions, with a sponsor to guide me, I have had a spiritual awakening as a result of the steps, I recover and I try and carry the message to other alcoholics, the message that you too can recover from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. So if I’m now helping others by taking them through the work, I consider myself recovered.

This is what being recovered means to me: 

First off it means I’ve gone through the steps and continue to do so. For instance step 10 says “continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it” so I take a personal inventory day by day, as I need it… Am I causing harm? Am I acting in fear? Have I just picked up a resentment? What are my defects? What was my part?  And possibly the most humbling one, admitting when I am wrong and promptly admitting it via process of making amends. 

Step 11 says:

 “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out” 

I ask my higher power to help me and to guide me in the right direction so that I may help others and to listen to the help and guidance I receive from my higher power. I take 15 minutes out of my morning to think about the day ahead, to be grateful of what I wake up with (especially internally), and I ask God to direct my thinking to remove wrong motives, to provide inspiration when I face indecision. 

In addition I spend 15 minutes out of my night to review my day. How have I felt and acted and what have I done, to seek any corrective measures? I may need to talk and to thank God for my day.  

Step 12 says:

“Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps , we tried to carry this message to other addicts and practice these principles in all our affairs” 

Now that I have gone through the previous 11 steps (in order) and I have had a personality change sufficient to bring about recovery, I no longer use drugs, I try to help others and be loving and kind, and I follow the principles of all the steps in all my affairs: be it family and home life, friends and fellowship, work-life, social life, heck, even when i’m walking down the street to catch a bus. 

These last 3 steps are circular in continuous. Step 10 says to continue Step 11 which says I seek  to improve, and Step #12 says that these are steps I must continue in order to maintain a fit spiritual condition.

What I have is a daily reprieve contingent upon the maintenance of a spiritually fit condition, and by maintaining that condition I remain Recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.  It is by working on the spiritual malady that the mind and body fold into place. I haven’t put a drink or drug in me for a little over 2 years now, and as long as I keep the steps in my daily life, it is near impossible for me to be in a state of eternal craving. 

Thus, I have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of body. I am recovered. 

I have not obsessed over a drink or narcotic in a long time… Not quite the full 2 years, (Like many, I did obsess a bit while in rehab) and the last time I had an urge (not an obsession) I had gained a mental defense against the first one. I knew the damage it would cause, the fact it wouldn’t work, the fact I didn’t actually want one, and I realised I had now gained the power of choice over the first one (Drink or Drug) and that if I ever were to pick anything up in future it would be by choice, however I also know that if I ever picked one up, while the first would be my choice, the subsequent amount that would follow, would not be of my choice.

Lack of power was my dilemma but I have found a power much greater than myself, therefore, I am no longer powerless. Therefore I have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body, as long as I maintain spiritually fit condition.