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Today, honoring the arrival of Spring, I want to take time and expound upon the many wonderful reasons for a person to embrace Unconditional Recovery. We are often encouraged during our early days of living sober and clean, to take it One Day at a Time. In fact, this is the preferred mantra for anyone who is stepping upon the path of freedom from addiction – I always like to say to myself: “One Day at a Time -- One Moment at a Time.” This attitude is really a part of expanding our consciousness towards becoming more aware of the moment we are experiencing -- the now. One day at a time allows a person to be ‘mindful’ of the present and embrace this day of sobriety.  There is that all-too-common concern expressed and felt during the first days of recovery – that is, wondering if my current abstinence means a lifetime of sobriety. This worry will dissipate once a person realizes that life happens now, not tomorrow. If you can be sober and clean right now, there is no reason you cannot continue – unless you chose otherwise.

We know during those first days and weeks of pulling away from our addictive use that thinking of long-term sobriety can be painful and can unwittingly set us up for failure. After all, we are attempting to separate ourselves from a substance that appears to be our ‘friend’ but is actually a menacing, destructive relationship – most definitely, not a friend. By embracing your recovery slowly, one day at a time, you can truly embark on a new journey in life – today. We must make sure we do everything we need to do and are encouraged to do. We must strive to regularly attend our meetings, meditate and pray often, exercise, nourish our body, mind and soul, and stay away from people and places that might tempt us back to using. Recovery means changing our life patterns from what they had been. No one can expect new and promising results from living life the same way they did when using and drinking. Tomorrow will certainly come, and we will face those challenges when they arrive. This is excellent advice for anyone regardless of being addicted to drugs and alcohol, but is especially a real proven avenue for anyone in early recovery.

As your journey continues,  you will come to realize the many personal relationships that have been harmed or destroyed by your previous uncontrollable behavior. Although, this is not an easy stage, it is a necessary phase of the sober journey that allows you to own what you have done. You have hurt yourself and others, and you must take ownership of this. Then the healing can truly begin. We make amends for the negative deeds we brought onto others, we seek forgiveness of ourselves and kindly and patiently ask others to forgive us. As we become more self-assured of our promise to remain sober, we will notice that others around us - family, friends, coworkers - will begin to trust us once again. We should not try to rush or force others to forgive us and trust us. We can only commence with our own forgiveness of ourselves and learn to trust our inner conviction. It will indeed take some time for this process to happen, but again, the most important element to focus upon is the healing of our inner being.

Now, let me confidently express some of the wonderful changes that can and will occur the longer you remain on your recovery journey. I am four and a half years into my own sobriety and my personal life has changed immensely since those dark years of alcohol addiction. My home life is the best it has ever  been. I am now self-employed and the business is thriving. My physical and mental health, which had deteriorated to a deadly level during my last years of drinking, is healing more each day.  I am now getting in the best shape of my life by eating healthy foods and exercising. I no longer have high blood pressure and my liver, stomach, pancreas, kidneys, heart and brain are repairing themselves. I am so thankful and grateful for this restoration of my body, mind and spirit and I am forgiving myself for the terrible harm I engendered upon myself. I have been given another chance to live – to live wisely and embrace the gift of life itself.

I have stepped onto the open road of sobriety, forever humbled by my treacherous experiences while consumed by alcoholism and I take complete ownership of my descent into alcohol abuse. This feels right, feels truthful and healthy. Because of this, I now believe in myself, and believe in the higher power within. I am now honest always, candid about what I do and how I feel, today, in this moment. I am open to new thoughts and experiences, always filling my mind and soul with inspirational readings. Now, I am successfully grounded in health and clean living, eating the best nourishing foods, drinking only those beneficial liquids that hydrate and sustain the body, deeply breathing the outdoor air, and, taking mindful notice of the splendid beauty in nature.

Being grateful for all that I have within and without is essential. Finally, I am eager to lend a helping hand to anyone in need. I have empathy and compassion for those suffering from their current state of addiction and am ready to support them on their quest for healing and rebuilding their lives. We are not searching for a ‘cure’ to addiction, we are pursuing a life ‘free’ from addiction, one day at a time, listening and attuning to this moment and embracing what is contained in the now. It takes patience, practice, fellowship with others, compassion for ourselves, forgiveness, perseverance, kindness and love. I pledge to myself each day that there is no condition that would allow me to drink or use again. I will continue on the pathway of Unconditional Recovery, forever. It is an avenue that leads to fulfillment, balance, awareness and harmonizing with all that life contains. 

I will leave you with some wonderful, inspirational words from the great poet, Walt Whitman, and his poem, “Song of the Open Road.” Happy Spring! And, until next time, stay clean and sober -- One Day at a Time!

Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me, 
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose. 
Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune, 

Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Strong and content I travel the open road. 
You air that serves me with breath to speak! 
You objects that call from diffusion my meanings and give them shape! 
You light that wraps me and all things in delicate equable showers! 

I am larger, better than I thought, 
I did not know I held so much goodness. 
All seems beautiful to me, 
The efflux of the soul is happiness, here is happiness, 
I think it pervades the open air, waiting at all times, 
Now it flows unto us, we are rightly charged.
Camerado, I give you my hand! 
I give you my love more precious than money, 
I give you myself before preaching or law; 
Will you give me yourself? will you come travel with me? 
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?
Allons! The road is before us.
It is safe—I have tried it--
my own feet have tried it well—be not detain’d! 
 - Walt Whitman (at his best)