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Recovery Month

Updated on

Recovery Month

Every September, SAMHSA sponsors Recovery Month to increase awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders and celebrate the people who recover. {SAMHSA is the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration}

Addressing the real problem, bringing real change

In honor of Recovery Month, I’ll celebrate 5 years of sobriety in November. To most people that means I’ve abstained from using drugs and alcohol for five years. To me it marks the beginning of a complete and total transformation of my life.

There’s a common assumption that as an addict my biggest problem is the drink and the drug. When in fact the problem is ME. The drinking and drugging was my solution. The moment I realized I WAS THE PROBLEM, was when I understood that DRUGS WERE JUST THE SOLUTION.

Cleaning your body of all mood altering substances is just the tip of the iceberg. Now the work on self begins. What is the heathy solution to the problem?

Did I mention you’ll need some help?

Being a part of…

The Augustine Recovery Center Staff and Friends

First things first, it can’t be done alone. Treatment centers, mutual support groups, faith based recovery, sober living environments, and 12 step groups all have one thing in common, community. All effective pathways to recovery operate around the understanding that alone we can’t achieve much, but together we can achieve success.

Let’s compare recovery to running a marathon for the first time. It would be awful discouraging to run a marathon down empty city streets, without a crowd of friends cheering you on along the way. I for one would much rather have the streets lined with crowds of supporters motivating me to the finish line.

In this way a supporting community helps to move you through the steps of change, holding you accountable and pointing you in the right direction.

Helping yourself…

You’ve made yourself a part of a recovery based community. You’ve accepted help from members of this community. Now, it’s time to help yourself. The idea is that you help yourself so that before long you can help others. Better you inflate your “recovery life raft” before you start pulling survivors from the wreckage in with you. Therapy and counseling, working through the 12 steps, and learning from the community can help you finish inflating your recovery life raft.

Keeping in mind that the drugs were the solution to the problem, that problem was us and our thinking, we set forth to change our thinking. We learn to challenge our default thought process. I like to say that before recovery my brain was a “ready, fire, aim-brain”. Now in recovery we must learn to aim before we fire, to think before we act, and in most cases share our thought processes with other recovering community members. This change in our thought process doesn’t occur overnight. We have to be patient and open minded to a new way of thinking.

Eventually the desire to use drugs and alcohol becomes something of the past. But our work on self is never really compete. ‘Self’ is always a work in progress. We incorporate healthy coping skills through hardships, develop new ways of thinking, and lean on mentors in our recovery network for help. Even in recovery people make mistakes because we’re not perfect, we use these as opportunities to learn and grow.

Today I’m still the problem, more often than I care to admit. The good news is that my solution is no longer drugs and alcohol. Today my solution is surfing, it’s love over hate, it’s faith over fear. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

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