***Submitted by Dawn, who blogs at Recovering Dawn
Despite the obvious benefits, I sometimes find being a woman in recovery extremely tiring.
It’s mostly good. I love having a program to work (the steps) and a community of women (in particular) and men who “get” me, right off the bat. I don’t know if I would have found my higher power (I call her Mary) without finding a 12 step program. I wouldn’t have the wonderful life partner I have today if I hadn’t run into him at a recovery convention 22 years ago. We wouldn’t have raised our beautiful children in a recovery-oriented home where honesty, open-mindedness and willingness were principles that were regularly encouraged, although not always practiced. We wouldn’t have even had a home or family, I suppose, if we hadn’t both come into recovery.
As someone who dropped out of high school because of drugs, I wouldn’t have gone back to university and completed a handful of degrees. Without recovery, I never would have learned that having initials at the end of my name did not raise my value as a human being, that all that I really ever needed to learn was to believe in my own worth. If I hadn’t cleaned up, I wouldn’t have known to take my sister to a meeting when she hit bottom, and she might not have six years clean today. I don’t take any credit for that, it was the rooms that I brought her to that saved her life.
Without our foundation in recovery, my husband and I wouldn’t have known how to deal with one of our children’s brief foray into the world of drugs when said child was sixteen, and that child might not have become the amazingly healthy and happy twenty-something person that said child is today. If I weren’t an addict in recovery, I might not have survived cancer five years ago – clean. If it wasn’t for the third step, I never would have learned how to let go of the things that I can’t control, or that aren’t my business. I practice that step daily.
What my business is today, is taking care of myself. I seem to have caught myself a case of work addiction, coupled with addiction to busy-ness. I have hit the wall from driving myself too fast, for too long. For the past five years, at least. I realized when I was critically ill that I wanted more than anything to keep living, and somehow I thought I had to work harder and do more than anyone around me to show the world that I was okay. My health has suffered, and my spirit has suffered more.
Time to regroup, rethink, recalibrate. Time to recover some more, discover some more. Time to take things back to one day at a time. I can do that. I know how.