GUEST COLUMN: Sober, proud and lucky, but journey is far from over


By Daily News • Last Updated 11:06 am on Monday, July 30, 2012

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth of four first-person accounts written by a woman who is participating in Adult Drug Court of Ionia and Montcalm counties. The woman’s identity won’t be revealed, but her life of addiction and recovery is an important story to tell in her own voice.
Anyone interested in becoming involved with adult drug court or a court mentoring program may contact Kristi Jeffrey via e-mail at kjeffrey@ioniacounty.org for more information.

I made the choice to become sober 16 months ago, but my journey is far from over.  I’m not perfect, I’m not cured. I walk a fine line and go to any means necessary to protect my sobriety, with a ferocity and passion most cannot fathom. Like a diabetic who must maintain a strict diet and exercise regularly, there are things that I, too, must do to treat my disease.

I worry about one day at a time now, because today is the only one that matters. I can’t change yesterday, and I don’t know what tomorrow holds. Today I stayed sober, was the best person I could be, and that’s all I can do. Tomorrow the clock will start again.

I see a counselor, I attend meetings, I take time for me. I spend time doing things I enjoy, to relieve stress and clear my mind. I surround myself with positive people, and choose to stay away from anyone I knew who still uses. I keep a tight rein on my thoughts and attitude, for us addicts are the Kings and Queens of justification. I used to spend a lot of time convincing myself wrong was right, and focused only on the negative. If I ever slip and think or act that way, I have the ability to correct my course and get back on track.

I don’t take things for granted anymore, because I don’t know if I’ll lose it all again. My cravings, or urges, to use left me a long time ago, but I must never, ever get comfortable in sobriety. Comfortability leads to complacency, and for me, that leads to my demise. I ‘m not cured, I’m in remission, and tomorrow may be the day my disease returns. I do not control it, I only control my choices.

I’ve come a long way in rebuilding my life in the past 16 months, but I’m not done yet. I have goals yet to meet, goals I can’t meet if I’m using. I’d like to raise my children, watch them raise their own. I’d like to travel, take my boys to parts of the country where history runs deep. I’d like to start a foundation for addicts in recovery. I want to finish college, and I’d like to write a book. I want to get married, buy a house, have a dog. I want to implement a drug awareness and prevention program in our local schools, to help stop the problem before it starts. I’d like to see this program statewide, and perhaps one day national. I want these articles to have helped at least one person understand.

Most of all, I want to stay sober. Close your eyes for a moment, tip your face to the sun. Clear your mind, and just feel. What you’re feeling is a little of the peace and serenity I carry with me every day.

I am a woman, I am a mother. I am a daughter, a friend, a sister. I am a girlfriend, an employee. I fell from grace, fast and hard, and I was given the strength and determination to rise above the ruin. I lost everything, and was given a chance to gain it all back. Because of this, I appreciate everything and waste nothing. Because of this, I’ve learned that true peace and serenity lay within. I’ve become a better person, stronger, wiser, happier, more giving, more caring for those around me. I am proud of who I am, grateful for what I’ve been through. I am a recovering drug addict, and I am one of the lucky ones.

July 9: “People don’t understand what addiction is”
July 16: “Finding rock bottom in the Montcalm County Jail”
July 23: “Addicts need motivation to keep fighting”
Today: “Sober, proud and lucky, but the journey is far from over”

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