Like most people, I’ve been sober before. I would endure feeble attempts to “just not pick up today”, until I couldn’t bear it anymore and had to go back. I emphasize had to because for me, drugs and alcohol have never been a problem, they have been a solution to the problem, which is me. When you take away my solution, I am left with the problem and become worse off, until I pick up a solution again. My experience has been that no matter how bad it was last time I still need a solution. If I don’t substitute the old one for a new one, I inevitably go back to the old one.

The twelve steps are an alternative solution that provide sustaining fulfilment and allow me to be comfortable in my own skin. I didn’t know this when I entered recovery and I didn’t really understand how the process of the steps would do anything to prevent me from going back out again. Logically, it didn’t make any sense and, quite honestly, it still doesn’t logically make sense to me, but now I have agreement in my spirit about the process and the actions I am required to continue to take to live on this side of recovery. This wasn’t always the case though. When I got sober, I would have sworn to you that there is no way that someone like me could be sober AND be happy. I just didn’t think it was possible. And why would I? My experience with sobriety reinforced my belief; I’d get sober, be miserable, go back out, rinse, and repeat. What I learned through the twelve step way is that recovery is so much more than just staying sober. It is much more about the journey away from self-centeredness than it is about “just not picking up today”.

My problem is that I can’t avoid picking up. Therefore that for me is a futile effort. The steps, on the other hand, gave me tools to focus on stepping away from self-centeredness, rooting out my fears and resentments, and rebuilding relationships with a Higher Power and the people around me- it had less to do with not using and more to do with stripping away everything that is not of me. And somewhere along the way, I looked up and realized, not only had I not used, I hadn’t thought about using in a long time. Furthermore, for the first time in a long time, I felt happy and whole. That, for me, is when the miracle happened.

When I tried to get sober before, I focused all of my efforts on fighting the old, but the twelve step process is about building the new. I focus my efforts on becoming more God-centered, more selfless, and more giving through the process of inventory, amends, and carrying the message. In the midst of me staying busy with all of that, God is steady at work, knitting my soul back into wholeness and helping me to find sustaining, deep-rooted, joy and contentment that I carry with me day to day, despite whatever life may throw my way. This, for me, is the essence of recovery and the meaning of the term, “there is a solution”.

-Zach

The Springboard Center’s addiction treatment programs are tailored to meet the needs of each client. We provide a safe, non-judgmental space to find healing from addiction of all kinds. It is important to recognize that many of our services offer a group setting and environment, so that the client spends time with other people affected by the same chronic disease and problems. 432-620-0255