Monday, March 14, 2011

The Last Frontier

***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.


  1. Your words are so inspiring for me. I really needed to read this today. Thank you.

    There are so many gifts, aren't there? But sometimes the hectic pace of life, and our own heads, gets to be too much. Remembering self-love, to slow down, take it one day at a time (even if I don't feel like drinking .. for me some of my toughest times come when I'm doing really WELL) is hard for me.

    You are one strong and graceful woman - your ability to overcome so much and stay sober it so completely inspiring.

    Thank you.

  2. Thank you for pouring out your heart, and showing us the things you are learning, and how they positively affect your family. Letting go of things you can't control or are none of your business, that is great insight into emotional health. I wish you strength, endurance, and clarity as you continue on your journey.

  3. An amazing story! Yes, you do know how. I worked 30 hours during the course of Saturday and Sunday. I am exhausted, and recovering today, from my weekend. The difference, I think, is that I love my job, and 8 years ago left one I thought I loved, with all the perks and stress for one where I am truly happy. I seriously feel now, that I get more than I give, even though the pay is just a fraction, and the work is much harder. Peace, to you, on this difficult journey. Knowing your worth is the key. Jane

  4. Fabulous! One of my favorite "pondering moments" is when I recognize reasons to be grateful that I'm a recovering alcoholic; something I never knew possible at one time.

  5. Thanks for the kind words, everybody. What an amazing community we have, here in the blogosphere. We are never alone...

  6. You inspire me . I only have 5 months sobriety under my belt and already my life is so much better. Six years is amazing. All of you who women who are veterans in recovery are my role-models. Thank-you!