Recovery Matters

Donna-Lee S shares her Journey in Recovery from Substance Abuse Disorder

It’s all about never wanting to chase your darkness, choosing to surrender and not give up ……

Close your eyes! Hold your breath! Imagine you are in an elevator! No window! No air! It’s pitch black and you have NO idea how you are going to get out!

Some people know this feeling and for those that don’t know this feeling – this is how it feels to be stuck in the claws of addiction!

I knew I was in a trap but each time I swallowed a few tablets, restricted food or had a drink which was a daily routine I convinced myself that the trap was a figment of my imagination and that the next day I would stop! Obviously that was complete denial!

I found a reason for everything I did and I chose to make myself believe I had the right to use! I also chose to believe that pharmaceutical drugs and alcohol were OK because they are not illegal!

Even though I had a very happy child hood and no traumas early in life, that I chose to marry the wrong guy and it was a scary marriage of abuse and fear, it doesn’t  really matter because addiction is addiction and it happens to many people but for me the only way to end it was to be put into a rehabilitation center and to then choose if I wanted a better life or not!

I am not sure today if I would have surrendered alone! I lived my life from the age of 15 bouncing around in the claw of multiple addictions for many years and one of my biggest blessings was that my husband and parents made a choice to offer me a way out!

This year 2018 I am not sharing my story with details of what I did because everything I did resulted in the same behavior which lead to the same consequences so it doesn’t really matter what i was doing! Whether I was drinking, taking tablets or restricting food the behavior was the same and the results kept me trapped! It was never enough and as long as I chose my drug of choice it was never going to be any different!

Houghton House was the place my second chance at Life began! It offered me a place of security and gave me many tools to take home with me but being in the house was the easy part of recovery!

Trying to live clean outside and process real life as a member of society and as a mom was seriously scary and challenging! It was way easier in the bubble at Houghton House because outside in the real world I was use to hiding behind a cloud of using and then leaving the house with a manual that was the 12 step programme! STEPPING into the big wide world  I had to learn to put this programme into action and live it daily! Not at all an easy task! The life of the unknown! Having NA was a gift each time I needed a place to breathe I knew I had a meeting to go to! Kind of like knowing I had a bubble to go and climb into, and to just stop and breathe! I shared my feelings openly in as many meetings as I could and I felt good when others shared and I could resonate with the way they felt and it comforted me knowing I was not alone!

I shared my story with those outside the rooms and it fascinated me just how many people struggle and how my message actually comforted many others! I had people telling me they wanted what I had and I to learn I cannot save anyone that I can’t fix those around me and that my message had to be enough.

I have learned that nothing in life is hard fast rules and that any choices I make in my journey of recovery will be good choices and the right choices if they are made honestly! Not all those choices pan out with my desired results but if I make them honestly then that’s where I am meant to be and if I could fight addiction I could do anything! That feeling I use to get in my stomach just before I used muttering in my head just one more that feeling is the feeling I know I have to stop think and then make a decision! That’s the feeling I believe god is giving me a warning signal! Those are the courageous and most difficult decisions but the decisions that bring reward and build self esteem!

I have learned that I know I cannot use mind altering substances but that I don’t need to label myself feeling less than or as if something is wrong with me.

Generally in life many people struggle and have challenges I actually am one of the lucky ones that has been given the priceless manuel full of tools for a bridge to living life!

As the years go by being a mom of three magnificent boys I have learned that this programme and journey has given me the greatest gift in being a mom and wife! Making choices as a parent are so difficult and making the braver choices in the best interest of my children without being influenced by what others will think of me is one of the greatest gifts! I share my journey openly and have no shame where I was because yesterday is history and tomorrow a mystery so the honest choices are those that will bring the best tomorrow’s!

I watch the world around me how many people young and old get faced with terminal illnesses and they would do anything to just get well and then I am so proud and glad for choosing life because my choice just needed courage, open mindedness and willingness! I never needed a treatment that may or may not work!

I have an amazing husband who would do anything for me! I have 3 magnificent boys who are healthy and mine! I have parents and a sister and big family who love me! I watch families breaking into pieces because of one member in the family that’s choosing  addiction and the hair on my arms stands up knowing that once upon a time I was that person racing like a tsunami through everyone’s lives! It’s heart breaking but it’s a feeling that keeps me focused and reminds me I never want to go back there! I wish my message could change everyone’s life that I could give a person in active addiction a day in my new world so that they could live the magic and replay the horror movie of the darkness but I can’t! The journey to magic comes with much struggle and work because nothing that’s worth it is easy!

The most difficult challenges I have faced in recovery and I have had many challenges are 100% easier than my easiest day in active addiction! Yes it’s a cliche but I can vouch for the fact cliche’s exist because the hugest truths lie behind them and they are the dreaded words I heard when I was struggling sobriety!

Life is meant to have ups and downs it’s not meant to be a journey that offers no challenge it’s just how I choose to tackle the challenges! I can 100% say early recovery learning to live life outside addiction is not a bed of roses at all! Having been in addiction and living in recovery makes life way easier because I know what darkness feels like and I know that there is always light after every challenge!

I know for a fact that everyone can choose to try and better there life if they want to! I know that those living and watching an addict you love in recovery can only offer tough love and never save an addict because I had means and ways of living secretly in active addiction and I am only clean today because I chose to fight! I got the gift of having no choice but rehab and once I arrived I knew I was not ever going back to that life! Everyday I choose life because it’s a gift!

Thank you to my husband, my children, my parents, my sister, my mom in law, my sister in laws, my family and all my friends who travelled the dark days and the pain with me! Thank you for giving me another chance to prove to you I will never go back – I never understood why I wasn’t given immediate forgiveness and trust, now I know that I had to put in the work to prove to everyone that my choice to change was true and not another lie or form of manipulation! I didn’t just get to wake up and expect everyone to trust me!

I leave you with this message – on the 9th of January 2018, FIVE years ago today, I decided I had enough of living in darkness and so today I am not what happened to me I am who I chose to become ….

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