One month ago today I left behind the life I had been living for the past year.
Morning coffee strolls by the Mystic River had slowly become hopeless days pacing Medford Square, avoiding reality, and drinking with friends who were just as depressed as me. Some days I would check the health app on my phone and notice I walked 20 miles- that’s how nervous I was. I couldn’t sit still; I knew my life wasn’t working but I didn’t know what else to do.
What was I doing to myself? Even though my last month was a cry for help- a subconscious self-sabotage to force myself to make a drastic change- I knew deep down that I never felt complete. No matter what had been going on with work, home, or relationships, I had been empty inside. It was time to take a break and work on the inside.
I tried everything I could; despite meditation, writing, positive affirmations, prayer, and a support network, I still struggled with daily life. The one thing I didn’t do, though, was accept the support I was offered.
So here I am, taking a break from the outside world.
To come back to my center.
To learn to shut out all the outside noises holding me back.
To unconditionally love myself no matter what the circumstances.
Society, therapists, and 12 step groups label this stage of my life as “early recovery.” Considering I am a month sober today, they’re correct. However, no one can ever take away the knowledge, wisdom, and strength I’ve gained over the past several years. I’ve had lengths of sober time, yet was still sick on the inside.
I know other people with many years sober who have never worked a step, taken a hard look at themselves, or had any sort of spiritual change. Clean time doesn’t mean mental sobriety; and mental sobriety can’t be determined by days, months, or years.
No matter where we are at in life or who we are, learning to live life on life’s terms is recovery. It doesn’t matter if you’re a drug addict, a codependent, or a compulsive shopper- Recovery is learning to be happy within. Recovery is learning to come back to center.
Recovery is living life as the person our higher power created us to be.
You may not be dependent on a substance or have an allergy to alcohol as I do, but I guarantee you’re recovering from something. Are you an overachiever who feels inferior when you don’t think you’re doing your best work? Are you self-conscious because your brother or sister outshined you? Do you jump from relationship to relationship because you’re scared of being alone?
We are all in some type of recovery.
However you want to label your struggles, please know that there is no shame in speaking your truth. Sharing your story takes courage, compassion for self, and a willingness to make a change. Not only will it set you free, it could impact others, inspire, and potentially save a life.