Monday, May 15, 2006

Walking Toward the Light~Some Musings on Recovery

"In my disease I was running from the dark.
Now that I am in recovery I find that I am walking toward the light."

~I wish I could claim this beautiful quote for my own.~
~But like most good things, it comes from my recovery program.~

Recovery is something I have never discussed on the blog, but is of extraordinary importance to me. Since it is, to a great degree, an issue about which I am currently writing, it seems time to bring it up here in Martha-land. If I am to continue to write honestly here, and elsewhere, it is something I must discuss, at least briefly.

Many of you do not know (and many of you know very well! ***winky thing***) that I am an alcoholic. I no longer drink, but I will always be an alcoholic.

Those of you who are wondering whether someone you love might have a drinking problem, but tell yourselves 'no' because the person holds down a job, functions apparently well during the day, doesn't go on three-day benders, etc.... you might be interested to know that in my drinking days, I always completed my daily responsibilities. I never went on benders and rarely drank heavily in public. I was never hospitalized for alcoholism, I never drank in the mornings... hmmm, what else didn't I do? I didn't hide bottles, I didn't drive drunk, I never drank after 9 PM, at least not until the very end. Yet, I was, and am, an alcoholic.

It is really quite simple. I was powerless over alcohol, and, despite the fact that I believed I "had it together", my life had become unmanageable. "Hitting bottom" doesn't mean you're in jail, or on Skid Row. "Hitting bottom" means you have decided to stop digging.

Now that I am living in recovery, a whole new world of peace, serenity and happiness has been opened up to me. I never could have imagined I could be this happy. Faded to distant memories are the resentments, fears and anxiety that used to have me beaten. They still crop up from time to time, but on a much smaller scale than they used to. What's more is I have a set of tools now to deal with these things whenever they come up, so that I know there is nothing I cannot handle.

One fascinating thing about being in recovery for a good chunk of time is I run into people from the program ALL OVER THE PLACE. At school and sporting events, I've met fellow moms in recovery, and a few dads as well. I've run into other recovering addicts and alcoholics in the grocery store, at fundraisers, at the health club, and in my various writing groups. EVERYWHERE! I never knew this about them until I started my journey of recovery myself!

Now I know so many people who have their heads together and are absolutely genuine, honest and giving human beings. It doesn't matter how far down the spiral of addiction one has gone--if you were a "functioning" alcoholic like me, or a thrice-convicted meth addict, or anywhere in between--I am friends with them all. What is more, they are true, honest friendships that are difficult to come by in most venues.

If anyone out there is hesitating about seeking help for an addiction, or doesn't think they can live without alcohol or drugs, please know that there is a wonderful world of sobriety awaiting you. You will have so much fun in recovery. Being an alcoholic is not the worst thing that can happen to you--not at all! But being an alcoholic who never finds her way into recovery just might be.

If you've ever worried you might have a drinking problem, or someone close to you ever has wondered if you might... YOU DO! It's as simple as that. Being alcoholic is not your fault, but alcoholism is a progressive, deadly disease. Untreated, it will kill you. Whether it is from a car crash, suicide, liver problems, pancreatic problems or anything else, alcoholism is deadly.

One of the best things I heard since starting my recovery program was: You don't have to drink. And what's great is it is 100% true!

So if you are wondering about your alcohol habits or about those of someone you love, please take the Johns Hopkins Survey. It is a completely confidential, online survey that will help you analyze your drinking practices and decide whether it is time to seek help.

You can also visit Alcoholics Anonymous for more information. AA is a completely anonymous organization whose only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. Also, they conduct open meetings so you can simply learn more about the disease of alcoholism. There are other recovery programs as well. You can ask your doctor what is the best program for you. And anyone who likes can certainly drop me an email and ask me how I quit drinking. It was very simple and I am more than glad to share.

I'd rather live sober wondering if I'm really an alcoholic,
than die drunk trying to prove I'm not.
~Not my quote either... True, though~

Have a wonderful day, everyone! I know I will!