Asking for Strength and Receiving Gratitude, by Hannah P.

The word ‘recovery’ to me, means strength. If you are able to find even the slightest trace of it in your soul, you can recover. This may be hard to do when you feel as if your world has crashed to pieces all around you by your own hand, but everybody hits their bottom eventually. When the only place left to go is up, you find a certain strength inside you when you finally realize you don’t want to live a life of loneliness and self-torment anymore. Every pill down my throat was a form of punishment, every needle in my arm, a smack to the face. I treated myself the way I thought I deserved to be treated. I did this for years! My disease came to life at the age of 15. At the time, I was finding my escape from reality in books and journaling. I was a straight ‘A’ student and had just moved to a new town. I acquired a small group of friends, all charming in their own unique ways and we shared similar interests in dorky things. School was a happy place for me. My life at home, not so much.

I had an abusive father and a little brother that looked to me for protection. We did anything and everything that kept us busy and away from home. Like most kids, we pretended what was happening at home, wasn’t really happening. This caused a lot of resentment and tension amongst my family. We never spoke aloud of the subject. So the day someone at school offered me a quick way to “escape and not feel,” I jumped at the chance. I remember feeling like every fairytale I had pretended to escape to in books, had become my reality. All the pain I felt no longer existed. I would use drugs as my doorway to that alternate reality when faced with any uncomfortable situation from that point on. Then it became something I would do just to not feel like I was dying inside. I did this for years until I landed myself behind bars for the very last time. I had hurt everyone around me and had no one to call and help me out of the mess I had made, with the exception of God.

I don’t know what made that last time different. Something in my soul told me this was enough. That was the last day I was ever high and the first time I had ever asked God for help.  The obsession had miraculously been lifted and I clung to that tiny bit of strength I had left and asked him to guide me to the next right thing. He led me to recovery’s doorstep (literally) where I went into sober living. I had no knowledge of recovery or 12 step programs, just a willingness to change and follow direction. I built a strong network of women and threw myself into the program because I had nothing left to loose. Recovery is not all rainbows and campfire songs but I saw my life change so fast and so positively that I had no desire to use or dwell on the past. I had to move forward by using my past as a road map to where it went wrong and how I could grow to fix that vicious way of thinking.

The gifts that AA has given me are unlike anything I ever thought I was capable of having. I am not a prisoner anymore; I am a functioning member of society and a mother to my child. I’m able to cope with everyday life without drugs or alcohol. The fantasy I had tried so hard to escape to has become my everyday reality. Gratitude has become my core feeling and is the first thing I think of when I open my eyes every morning. I am so grateful for every opportunity I have been given to show what I am worth, for every person who told me to hang on and just keep going and for every obstacle God saw fit to have me overcome.

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