By Nicolette McGahey, LLMSWNovember 12, 2020
Finding recovery has been the event that has changed my life beyond recognition and shaped every part of my identity.
I am a person in long-term recovery.
I am also a daughter, sister, partner, friend, counselor, co-worker and proud member of the recovery, indigenous and LGBTQ communities. Without my recovery, these aspects of my identity would cease to exist. I am who I am today only because of the miracle of recovery.
With that being said, in the midst of my addiction, I had relatively little hope for myself. Like many others, I believed my options were either a lifetime of misery—or death. Looking back, there were three pivotal moments in my life that allowed me to find recovery despite all of my resistance and doubt.
Standing before me was a person who had been through not identical, but comparable, struggles and had made it to the other side of the darkness. I didn’t know it then, but meeting this friend and learning recovery exists had planted a seed.”
The first moment occurred when I met a friend who was in long-term recovery. I had never heard the word “recovery” and didn’t realize that anybody who had an addiction as bad as mine could get better. Finally, standing before me was a person who had been through not identical, but comparable, struggles and had made it to the other side of the darkness. I didn’t know it then, but meeting this friend and learning recovery exists planted a seed.
The second pivotal moment occurred almost a year later. There was no “rock-bottom” for me. I had many experiences I hoped would be my rock-bottom, but unfortunately I found that addiction has a way of bringing you to new lows each time you think things can’t possibly get any worse. I finally reached a point when I simply felt exhausted like I had never felt before. I decided I would give recovery my best shot for the first time ever. I had previously gone short periods of time without drugs, but each time I would use as soon as my urges got strong enough.
This time, I knew the urges would be strong, but I decided I was going to try to be stronger.
The third moment occurred a short time later, when I got into an argument with someone close to me and, without hesitation, my first thought was to self-medicate immediately. Before getting very far, I stopped and remembered this was the moment I had prepared for. I knew there would come a time when it was going to be difficult, and I had promised myself I would try to get through it. Even though I was in pain, I decided to wait, distract myself and see if I could possibly make it through without using. To my surprise, I did. This was the first time I had unknowingly practiced urge-surfing. In this moment, I learned that even in the darkest moments, recovery was possible for me.
Recovery is possible for any of us, and it can all start with one moment of hope to change our lives forever.