I learned something important about recovery this week: I need recovery.
I've managed - by the grace of my Higher Power, the support of my recovery community and my loving friends and family - to accumulate double-digit years of substance free life. Sounds good, right? It is. My sober life is better than any life I ever could have imagined (except maybe for my 9-year-old dream of being Mrs. Bobby Sherman). My job as a recovery support coach allows me to share my experience strength and hope 40 hours each week. Most of my friends are sober folks, as is my partner. It's safe to say that recovery is the centerpiece of my life.
There is a lot more to being sober me than simply talking the talk. I know this, BUT. Sometimes I forget. I lose my spiritual focus. I zone out during meetings. I skip the daily readings that set my mind in a good direction each morning. I make excuses for being short-tempered and snarky. I loll in the warm, sticky ooze of self-pity. I expect my life to roll along without hiccups; how dare the car break down, the sky pour rain, the cat dig her claws into my tender ankle? These are the symptoms of a lack of sobriety self-care. It isn't pretty. It isn't fun. The irony is that although I know the cure, sometimes I prefer to sit in my sickness. That's the weird mental twist of addiction. We hate being miserable, but we can be averse to the cure.
Today I got sick and tired of being sick and tired. I had a little cry, took a last dip in self-loathing, and admitted that what I need is more meetings. Listening to the inside of my head for too long leads me down some dark, tangled paths. I need other voices, the voices of people who have been where I've been and understand my struggles without need for translation. People who are trudging the same road as I am.
Sometimes someone I know who isn't in recovery will ask, incredulously, "You mean you still have to go to those meetings?" Yes. Yes, I do. Because as my life changes, my needs change, and what I need from recovery changes. It's funny that no one ever asks someone, "What, you still go to church every Sunday?"
I know what I need. I know where to get it. And I know how fortunate I am to know.
Recovery is a gift that keeps giving. But you have to keep unwrapping the package and using what's inside.