Being on this side of sobriety is not always easy.
In the weeks preceding this writing, we have attended funerals for those who lost the battle to a foe stronger than human desire and more complicated than what most can comprehend. Some have had their bodies fold due to the abuse of drugs and alcohol, and some have succumbed to their hand - the ultimate defeat in a quest for relief.
We have found ourselves at the intersection of pain and anguish in our journey. We have stood on the curb of consideration. We have heard words but were frozen to action. Mentally paralyzed and physically addicted, we spent years teetering between life and death.
All of our experiences do not qualify us to save the next soul. This is the utter reality; change is an inside job. All we can do is carry the message that there IS a solution. The best we can offer the universe is to share our experience and relay the resources we have seen spare lives.
We are but a bridge to those in the water. We put ourselves out there as a life raft to get one to safety. And once ashore, we work to be a lighthouse, guiding the hurting toward healing. This is our responsibility, as others were there for us in our time of need. We ask for nothing in return as this gift was given to us freely, and we desire to pass it on freely.
The funny thing about our addiction was that we felt we were unique in our circumstances and our suffering. What we have learned is that we were, in fact, so similar to many others and that our answer existed through their experiences. This is why we put so much emphasis on meeting attendance. One cannot hear if they are not listening. Connecting in recovery has delivered for us and countless others.
This essay aims to reach the hopeless with the message that there IS hope. It also serves as a reminder that we, the cured, are the messengers and need to be ready to bring the next to dry land.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is “a” pathway to an improved lifestyle – one that has delivered us large quantities of peace and comfort. We advocate for the program because we know that its guides served us well. That being said, AA is not the only route to recovery. Our appeal is that anyone struggling with the grip of addiction continues to seek sobriety as defined by themselves. If one can stay clean for a day and begin to process the underlying complications, then that should be considered a victory.
Our challenge is not that we know more than we have time to share. Our share in a meeting is limited to minutes, our podcasts average thirty minutes, and these writings are limited to a thousand words. Our real task is to be there when one is ready to receive.
Recovery is an inside job.
Our best advice, in closing, is this: If you are struggling with addiction today and need answers immediately, then you should stop reading and call the SAMHSA Helpline at 1-800-662-4357.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, you should act right away and dial 988 from any phone.
For those of us already on the other side of sobriety, we need to keep these numbers handy, remembering that we are the switchboard to safety. We put ourselves out there because we love.
Real pain exists all around us. It amazes us how our stories, experiences, and resources can have a direct positive impact when we all work together. We have seen this over and over again.
That is why we work recovery today!
Thoughts and ideas for this blog post were taken and built upon from sober.coffee podcast #149 titled " "The darker side of sobriety.” The session dropped on 1/31/2024….Click here to hear the podcast.
Alcoholics Anonymous and AA are registered trademarks of Alcoholics World Service. Inc. References to AA, the 12 steps, and 12 traditions does not mean that AA has reviewed or approved the contents of this publication nor that AA agrees with the views expressed herein. This publication is intended to support personal growth and should not be considered a substitute for healthcare professionals' advice. The author’s advice and viewpoints are their own.