September is Recovery Month!
Now in its 32nd year, Recovery Month celebrates and promotes the recovery community as well as service providers across the nation who make recovery in all its forms possible. This Year’s National Recovery Month Theme: Recovery is for Everyone. Every Person, Every Family, Every Community.
For those who don’t know, Wilmington has an extremely strong and active recovery community. I’ve been fortunate to witness this community in action via so many clients’ recovery journeys over the past 19 years. I always say my greatest teachers have been my students (or in this case my clients). I’ve done extensive research culminating in a Master’s thesis on alcohol-related topics, was published in the journal Addictive Behaviors, and learned Motivational Interviewing from a mentor who studied under the person who created the technique. However, I’ve by far learned the most about addiction and recovery from the brave men and women in the trenches, living life on life’s terms one day at a time.
For this blog, I polled many of them and asked:
What is the best thing you’ve gained via your recovery from addiction?
· The best thing I have gained in recovery is the relationship I have with my teenage daughter. Wouldn’t trade it for anything.
· Best thing I gained is a loving and forgiving relationship with God.
· The best thing I have gained from recovery is not feeling alone anymore. I no longer have to seek approval from other people or act out in behaviors to gain attention. I have gained true, authentic friendships with people who think like I do. It’s a wonderful feeling to feel like I belong.
· The best thing I’ve gained is self-love and self-compassion.
If you could give one piece of advice/words of wisdom to a newcomer, what would it be?
· If I could give a newcomer a suggestion, I would tell them they have to be willing to change everything about their lives with no reservations.
· One thing I tell a newcomer “keep coming back, we love” also “ if you don’t do a 4th step you will relapse”
· My suggestion to a newcomer would be to trust the process. The suggestions given to me at first seemed stupid and I didn’t want to listen but I was so broken that I did whatever I could to get better. Eventually things started to get better and I continued to take those suggestions.
· One thing I’d tell a newcomer, is “Hold on.” – I know that’s simple and cheesy but really. Sometimes it’s the simple instructions that we can follow and have the most meaning.
*shared with permission
Special thanks to these clients who inspire me every time I meet with them for sharing their wisdom, strength, and hope. As I wrap up this recovery month blog with a theme which includes “Every Community”, it would be remiss not to honor a giant in our own recovery community. Wayne Ray, the founder of Launchpad (which operates over 20 recovery homes between here and Myrtle Beach), passed away recently with 25 years of sobriety himself*. I wanted to close with just a few of his often quoted sayings about recovery:
“You want to know what it takes to be in recovery? All you got.”
“Gratitude is an action word.”
For anyone out there struggling with addiction, please know there is hope and that recovery is entirely possible. You don’t have to go it alone- there are many professionals and members of the recovery community willing to walk alongside you in your journey.
Some of our Many Local Resources:
Kelly Broadwater, Executive Director of the Chrysalis Center, specializes in treating co-occurring eating disorders and substance use disorders, addiction transfer, and food addiction.