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Life after Relapse

My sobriety date is November 15, 1992.  This is the day that I was graced to begin life again.  My sobriety birthday is more important to me than the actual date of my birth.  November 15, 1992 I returned to the rooms of recovery after relapsing.

When a person relapses there is always the question, “what happened?”  Relapse is a terrible blow to the ego and the spirit, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world, nor does it have to define who and what a person is.  For me it saved my life and taught me the value of being honest in all of my affairs to the best of my ability.  Relapse taught me that my recovery is in the hands of not just myself, but a Source much more powerful than I am. It also taught me the healing balm that is found in the rooms of recovery.

So why did I relapse?  I wasn’t honest and I believed that my sobriety was an intellectual exercise that I could master just as I had mastered subjects in school. I had a cerebral experience with the 12 steps, and it was my ambition to impress people with my brilliance. I relapsed in the 9th step, actively making amends, working with newcomers and going to meetings regularly.  Sounds like a good program right? Wrong.  I failed to enlarge my spiritual life.  I gave lip service to spirituality and thought that I could do the job myself. Wrong again.

After nearly two years of sobriety, drinking and using became an option for me again.  I was in an abusive relationship and had no personal boundaries.  I had never learned how to be healthy in a relationship, how to say, no.  I had a sponsor but I never really let her in except to help me work the steps. I didn’t let anyone in.  I had no concept of what it means to live an “authentic” life.  Long story short, I was thirsty and I drank and used again.

It was the beginning of what I consider the rest of my life.  In 30 days I found myself back at the recovery center where I’d previously sponsored several women.  I was given a prayer asking the Universe to please keep me there long enough to discover some real truth about myself.  That was sixteen years ago.

What I have found over the course of 16 years is that I must be honest and I must tell my secrets to someone.  Not everyone, but someone.  I must be active participant in my recovery; no one can give it to me.  Constant spiritual growth is the biggest part of my life today.  I must be of service to others.  I have found that it often does more for me I think than the other person!

My life is relatively simple today.  I do the best that I can with each day that I am graced with. I attend meetings and try to focus on what I can bring rather than what I can take.

My life is full of love and light today.  My story is not unique, I am not unique.  It is the healing power of a Higher Power, recovery, and the people that have loved me even when I couldn’t love myself.

For last month’s stories, click on the next pages

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