My recovery date only tells you one thing: it tells you the day that I removed the substances that I was abusing from my life. However, that date will not tell you when I started living in recovery with acceptance of my situation. I emphasize situation like that because I am still in the process of understanding what my situation even is. The point that I am trying to make is that my recovery date is just the day that I decided that my life needed to change. Living my life with the acceptance of who I was, who I am, and who I have the potential to become? Well, I am not sure I am able to pin point the exact date that this self-acceptance occurred during my recovery, but I can tell you about what has helped me get to this point, and what helps me when I decide to put one foot in front of the other.
Acceptance is No Easy Pill to Swallow
Facing certain truths is something we avoid for a reason. It is much easier living in a life of denial particularly if our shame outweighs our desire to accept whatever we are choosing to run from. Even in the beginning stages of my recovery journey, I was just floating on the potential of this “new life” for myself. I was not ready to accept what my recovery was going to entail. I had no way of knowing. Even in the first year of my recovery, I had yet to face the harder questions: Why was I running from myself in the first place? What void was I trying to fill with drugs, alcohol, food, people and exercise? What led me to hit rock bottom to begin with?
For me to grow and become a better version of myself, I had to accept what I was still fighting to deny. To truly recover, and maintain that recovery, I had to confront the worst parts of myself, accept them for what they were, and be at peace with the fact that I cannot change what is behind me. I realized that what we have is today, and today we have the choice to become better and improve from that with each additional day that we are given.
Acceptance is a Daily Practice
I do not believe there is a “finish line” to recovery. What makes recovery challenging, is that it requires work every single day. There are no breaks from recovery. It is a constant battle with moderation and learning to live a balanced life. Recovery challenges us to find other ways to direct our passions and personalities. It also forces us to face the emotions that we have been fighting the hardest to avoid. Recovery is something we must choose to continue every day of the week, every day of the month, and every day of the year. But what makes recovery so worth it, is knowing that we are that much closer to reaching the fullest potential of ourselves. That no matter what, a life in recovery is always going to be far greater for you than a life of secrets, shame, and substances temporarily taking the pain away. Recovery offers us an opportunity to accept who we are, every single day. We don’t often think about how much freedom comes from accepting the person we have become based on the good and bad choices of our past. By choosing to accept yourself each day, you are taking that much power back in your life.
When it comes to recovery, we are told to always put one foot in front of the other and take it one day at a time. This is true, and that is all we can do; take each day as it comes, and hope that we have learned to make smarter choices.
There came a point in my recovery where I knew something had to change. I had removed what was toxic from my life, but I still could not explain the void that was still there. It was not until I started taking each step with a new acceptance for myself that I was finally able to start taking steps in the direction that I wanted to go in. It was not enough for me to just be in recovery. I also had to accept the reasons as to why I was in recovery in the first place.
Even when we are already taking steps in the right direction, we can still find ourselves walking on the edge of our true path. The best decision that I ever made was accepting the person I am; the good and the bad, the light and the dark. When we can live our lives with a certain type of understanding for ourselves, we can recover in a completely authentic way, and I think that is a path all of us in recovery should try!
Thank you for reading. I appreciate you!
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.