When I hit bottom from years of drinking and drugging, finally asking for help, I didn’t have a clue what would come next. Living a day at a time, committing to showing up to 12 step meetings, being accountable — it was all so foreign to me. Frightened and panicked with fear; I listened to and followed the suggestions from the gal who took me under her wing. She was a Godsend, understanding, patient, kind and non-judgmental. When she told me she had felt the very same way at the beginning of her sobriety, I realized I was not alone, nor the only one on the planet with this disease.

She wanted me to read one particular book, not in its entirety, just a few paragraphs at a time. Then it came to writing and journaling each day. But the real work began when it was time to look deep inside and reveal on paper, my personal inventory. A hard look in the mirror.

It was a difficult task to start because I wanted to blame the outside world and people in it for what I’d become. I wanted to continue my role as a victim of the mess of a life I created. So, this inventory was not about them, it was about me. But once I got started on this “homework” the pen flowed on the paper. After sharing it with her, all the bad and ugly of it — that’s when the recovery began. 

Through the years of being sober, I’ve learned so much about myself and know there will always be work to do. I still have character deficiencies that need fixin’, but for the most part, I’ve shed the old skin and stepped into my authentic self. 

Sure, getting sober is way more than reading and writing, for me, it was a jumpstart to a life I could have never imagined. My outlook before was gloom and darkness, I really didn’t care about much, other than myself. It’s a blessing not to have to lie and cheat. It’s a blessing not to live in fear and shame, drunk or hungover.

Wherever you are on your journey, I cannot emphasize enough to stick with it, attach yourself to people who are strong in their recovery. From them, we learn how to do the next right thing, and become aware of what not to do as well. There is a tremendous power of love and support available from our fellow travelers on this road. Ask for help when you need it and give it to others when you can. In gratitude,  Barbara [email protected]