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Our Voice

Posted on 21 September 2020

Recovery Month – Joe’s Story

Recovery means a lot more to me than just staying clean.

I’m 611 days clean today. I’ve got an app on my phone that tells me. That number doesn’t mean all that much to me today. If someone told me they’d been clean that long when I was just starting out, it would have blown me away. What recovery means to me has changed a lot as time’s gone on. I imagine it will continue to change as I continue to grow.

Recovery means knowing yourself. It means accepting things for how they really are and not being unhappy with a reality you have no power to change.

In the early days, my head was mashed with uncontrollable, non-stop thoughts and it scared me. There were points when I was really worried about my mental health. Like, “if this doesn’t stop, I think I’m going to go insane”. But I had help. I was in rehab and I tried my hardest to “trust the process”, as my counsellor kept telling me. I was helped in ways I didn’t understand, ways I didn’t know I needed, and I got through it.
So, at first, recovery was about holding on, getting through no matter what. Each day was another day clean. But now it has evolved. The days when not using was an effort are gone and recovery is something else to me now. It’s a lot more than just staying clean.

I don’t mean to say that staying clean doesn’t matter, it’s essential. Recovery means being clean and sober. But being clean and sober alone doesn’t equal recovery. There’s more to it than that.

Recovery means knowing yourself. It means accepting things for how they really are and not being unhappy with a reality you have no power to change. I don’t mean that in a depressing way like “you can’t change anything”. I mean you learn about what you can actually change and mostly, that’s yourself. You can change your perception of things and the way you deal with stuff. When I first got clean, this felt like a superpower. That I could mould myself to deal with life in a way that worked for me.

I believe that rehab and step work have made me into a better version of myself than I ever would have been, drugs aside. It’s sad that I had to fall so far before I could pick myself up (with help). But that’s the nature of it I suppose, Rock Bottom. It’s not about what has happened for me any more though, It’s about what’s going to happen and figuring out what I truly want.

Two people making a heart with their hands

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