I have been recovering for a little over two years now, and I never plan to stop. In fact, I will never be done recovering because I do not believe that there is a point of being fully recovered. Now, I know what you are probably thinking: “That sounds a bit discouraging for those just starting out in recovery.” Please keep in mind, when you take the step into recovery, you are making the commitment to live out the rest of your days choosing recovery over and over again. There is not a finish line. There is not an expiration date. There is just the will to a be a little bit better each day moving forward, despite the obstacles that life is still going to put in front of you.
As a recovering addict, I am constantly having to train my mind to do the opposite of what it wants to do, which is to obsess, fixate and crave. Over time, the impulses aren’t as loud as they were in active addiction, but there is always a faint whisper that never truly goes away. The process of recovering allowed me to recognize what kinds of things trigger certain thoughts, enable bad behavior, or tempt dangerous actions. Recovery has made me aware of my emotions and feelings, something I was never willing to experience before because addiction made it so that I never had to feel anything.
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First and foremost, recovery has been the hardest thing I have ever had to do; addiction was the easiest. It was easy to not have self-control and to not pay attention to my self-destructive behavior. It was easy to live in denial of my problems and keep feeding the darkness that was living inside of me. It was easy to not care about my actions or the way others may have felt about them. Recovery is hard because it is worth it, but anything worth doing is supposed to be challenging. We do not choose recovery because it is the easier route to travel; we choose it because it is the only way we get our life back, and the only way we will get to live the life we deserve.
I have lost count of the amount of times that I have been asked, “So, you will never be able to drink again? You will never want to drink again?” It’s not that I am not able to — I AM able to drink because I am of age — and certainly not because I don’t want to; the desire is always going to be there somewhere. My answer to those questions comes to me without hesitation. I am in recovery because my life has completely changed for the better since I have chosen not to drink again, and my want to drink is far less strong than my want to be in control of my actions and my life.
The work that recovery requires is never over, and I am grateful for that. Each day in recovery is a new opportunity for a life I would never have been able to have if I was still allowing addiction to win. Hard days still occur, obstacles are still in my way, and life will always enjoy throwing me a good curveball. Due to my choice to keep recovering, I choose to show up for whatever the day has in store for me. There is no quick fix to this lifelong journey of ours. There’s just our choices and our willingness to put one foot in front of the other.
For the rest of my days, I will choose to keep recovering, because recovery never ends.