Where Everybody Knows Your Name
Recovery Month One Day At a Time
September is National Recovery Month. For me, every month is recovery month - one day at a time. People can be in recovery from substance abuse as well as mental illness. In my case, it's both. My recovery from alcohol began when I was in my 50's. After a brief stint in rehab, I made my way to my first AA meeting. People greeted me warmly, introduced themselves by their first name, and offered coffee and cookies. The woman next to me quietly shared an orange with me –a small gesture which spoke volumes. The meeting began in a room full of strangers. As it ended, I found myself holding hands with a circle of people joined in prayer. They bid me to "keep coming back."
I walked into that meeting with a feeling of desperation. As I walked out, I felt as if I'd come home. I was amongst people who spoke the same language. They spoke to my heart, telling me I never had to be alone again. They understood how I felt, what I had been through, and the help I sought.
The people in that and many similar rooms taught me the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. They helped me find a sponsor who shepherded me through the twelve steps. I was offered their friendship and example, and shown a new way of living. I learned to live this new life a day at a time.
In recovery, I have been helped to "live life on life's terms." With the help of the people in AA and the principles they've taught me, I have been able to meet both the good and bad days life has to offer. I strive to greet each day with gratitude for another day, and acceptance of the events it will bring.
The AA family that surrounds me has helped me to deal with the joyful and the tragic. They supported me in facing the death of a sibling. They were there for me as I've faced surgeries and the decision to sell my home. They've encouraged my career and celebrated my accomplishments.
Becoming sober has also helped me to find recovery from mental health issues. In rehab, I was urged to seek outside help from a mental health practitioner. I would never have admitted to having a mental health disorder, nor sought professional help, without first having become sober and learning to take an honest look at myself. With the assistance of mental health treatment, the principles of AA, and staying in contact with my support network, I have become the person I believe I was meant to be. More importantly, being active in AA has given me the opportunity to give back by sponsoring and helping others.
I am filled with gratitude for the AA program and the recovery I have found in all areas of my life. My relationships have mended and I have come to accept myself. New interests and opportunities are being discovered as I continue to grow in recovery. A whole new life has been opened for me – one day at a time!