In 12-step recovery, a common saying tells us, “You only have to change one thing, and that’s everything.” I’m starting to understand what that means. Beginning to write this blog is the latest in a cascade of changes that have made the last 2 years quite an experience, so I want to take this post to get you up to speed on a few of them.
First change–most important change–is that I got off of my drugs and actually bought into the whole recovery concept this time. I had flirted with recovery a couple of times in the past, but there was always some good reason for deciding that the whole recovery culture was not for me, and I was an expert in self-pity when it came to living clean.
I felt sorry for myself because my sleep pattern still sucked, and I was still in physical pain a lot, and I still had issues with food, and most of all because I was still living with mental illness. My drugs of choice were painkillers and sleeping pills, and I tried to convince myself that someday I could use them in moderation. I felt I was owed happiness and good health in return for sacrificing the drugs, and I resented not getting it. I worked a recovery program in a half-assed way, and I did and thought many things that were reserving a place for relapse.
In retrospect, it’s apparent to me that I needed to be taught lessons about the progressive nature of my addiction, the uselessness of my intellect and the need to get over my pride and work the program like any other addict. I was taught those lessons, and a little over two years ago I hit a bottom, did the rehab thing, and “drank the Kool-Aid” as one friend put it.
So recovery’s been a big part of my life since then. I’ve also moved, sold a house, faced financial realities I had been hiding from for years, started homeschooling my daughter, and lost over 100 pounds. That last thing creates more changes because it brings new activities into my life, which I try to balance with the introspective work of the long-term character overhaul involved in a passionate recovery program.
I’m sure all of this stuff will be written about in more detail in the storytelling I plan to do here. Today I’m simply saying that there have been changes. Changes I didn’t think were possible. Changes that I’m still afraid won’t last. Changes that make me feel young, uncertain, disoriented, hopeful and humble. Changes that are asking me to grow up a little more, and then a little more.