Deep Breaths

Today, almost 14 months into my recovery. I am no longer surviving, I am truly living. I still attend recovery meetings almost daily but now I want to, I no longer have to. My life is slowly returning to normal and I am more grateful with each passing day that I went through the living hell of medical detox and an extremely hard year of debilitating recovery.

I have now added another type of recovery to my weekly meetings-I attend a Refuge Recovery meeting which is Buddhist based and truly focuses on the breath which is so energizing and expansive. I have wanted to attend Refuge Recovery but in my first year I wasn’t quite there yet, as I wasn’t able to sit still with myself or my breath….

Now I augment my recovery with this delightful recovery practice and attend it on Saturday mornings as a new addition to my more traditional approach to recovery during the week. I am growing as a person, a parent, a friend, and a partner in ways I never imagined were possible. My limits are once again limitless; only restricted by my own expectations I impose on myself. I try to refrain from such restrictive behavior and live each day I am blessed to live to my fullest and to the best of my abilities.

I am once again filled with hope and inspired by many who already walk this path of recovery and live more completely than I am capable of doing so at this point in my short recovery. I try not to impose limits on my dreams because one year ago I couldn’t have dreamt that I would be where I am today. Life is still filled with lots of lessons I need to learn, but it no longer hurts like it did a year ago.

I know I have written that my early days in medical detox and recovery were simply inhumane, and that is true, however, with that being said I write today from a new place of understanding for the suffering I endured in those early days and months.

Suffering when one is experiencing it seems senseless and meaningless. I will never say it is okay but it is OKAY today as I have created a bit of distance from it in my daily life. Was it necessary, no. Was it avoidable, no it wasn’t either. How do I say and mean both? The answer as I understand is not simple or linear…

I certainly didn’t have to suffer in order to get to well and reap the multitude of benefits of recovery. However, is my lived experience richer for the suffering I endured and is my recovery THAT much more rewarding and lush due to the suffering? Absolutely YES. Yes I say as a person who could never tolerate such suffering ever again, no matter what the circumstances….simply-absolutely not at all!

I don’t equate suffering with a richer, more robust recovery but from where I started this journey I have traversed it not possible without the suffering my medical detox dictated. Do I believe the healthcare profession has a lot of growing to do to catch up the recovery experience with other facets of healthcare-a big YES, most definitely! I hope to be part of the many conversations going forward in the field of recovery, both physically and mentally.

The pain addicts are forced to endure to get to well is completely out of control and obviously not a priority of the healthcare profession at this point. I believe recovery reform is imperative to getting more and more addicts to well, as right now there is too much pain required for many addicts to get to well so they stay using and never getting a life worth living. This is the prohibitory truth we must face as people who care about the next addict’s chance at sobriety. This is also a truth much of healthcare is ill-prepared to face as they need to look inside themselves and realize that just abstinence from chemicals is not the only requirement for physical and mental wellness.

The all too important therapeutic alliance is gravely over-looked in the current recovery experience for my addicts. This must change in the fields of recovery and medical detox! There are too many addicts suffering from chronic addiction that can not fathom the only road to well that much of the healthcare profession currently offers.

Unit there are political voices for those suffering from addictions not much will change, countless lives will be senselessly lost, and countless more will continue to be sick and suffer from one day to the next.

I realize I am not the norm, as I had access to first-rate healthcare to get to well, and even my care was not without limitation and I experienced unthinkable suffering I can not even entertain a year plus out in my own recovery journey.

I hope my “story” which will be entitled the Illness of My Discontent will serve a purpose of hope and some inspiration that if this addict can get to well in this imperfect healthcare scenario then so can you if you truly want to change your life- for a life worth living.



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