The Bonds We Build in Treatment
As an addict, one can feel the constant struggle of who you’ve been, and who you want to be. The sliding door that keeps us trapped in a recurring role that our ruts, our wells, our bottoms, are here to stay. That by each loss, each heartache, we are driven further away from the person we thought we “ought” to be.
I’ve thought, and I’ve ought, and Ive thought that I ought to be someone else. Somewhere along the process of coming to the light Ive slowly loosened the grip of an image of a person that I projected onto myself.
Someone at an AA meeting once told me in passing: sobriety is not an identity, its a state of mind. Those words always stuck with me, and what I took away from it was to continue to hold myself accountable, continue to take inventory, continue to spiritually grow; but that it did not necessarily need to look or feel like everyone else’s experience.
It wasn’t really until my 4th year of sobriety that this notion really began to manifest in my life. Though the first 3 years were tough, things came my way in the 4th year that I did not anticipate. Accepting peace and serenity in opposition to failure and adversity is always easier said than done. My 4th year did not disappoint. It was a year of great change and adversity. A year that encompasses losing a loved one that has passed on, moving in with a partner, and health challenges and benefits. The image of myself in a hospital gown fresh out of surgery, in a wheel chair, attending my grandmother’s funeral is itself surreal; and still freshly burned into my memory. And although this past year had some real marked indicators of where I am still on the path of growth, it also showed me how far Ive come.
You see, the beauty of recovery, is that it involves others. It involves the people that we hurt, the family that hurt us; but also the family we choose. It is the only listed form of treatment where the side effects can be potentially more prevalent than with abstaining alone. Side effects of such are exponential growth, and an ability to turn pain and suffering and dark experiences into a positive channel of change that helps others.
Yet, all along the way; people helped me. People cheered me up, friends held me together. There was one day in particular, sometime in my second year of sobriety, that I hit a wall of depression. I was going through a painful and dark breakup, with little clarity on what to do next. On some of those days, the objective was to only make sure I brushed my teeth, or put my shoes on and get out of bed. It was in those moments that friends would come by my house, and literally carry me out of bed to take me out to eat. Those friends were once my roommates in treatment. They were my peers from rehab, friends that processed their own pain with me in countless groups. We build bonds In treatment that are still thriving today, almost 5 years later. And it is without a shadow of a doubt, that I know that the sober family I chose, are one of the most significant facets of my sobriety, my evolution, and my experience here building authentic bonds with others that just want to see me happy.