I was having a discussion this morning with one of our residents and this topic was brought to my attention and inspired me to write this article. He asked, “how do people get sober and stay sober without working the 12-steps?” We had a conversation on the how’s and why’s that without the 12-steps, recovery wasn’t possible for us, the number of failed attempts, so on and so forth.
The next question I asked is what I think really changed the whole direction and mindset of the conversation. My own experience shows that we can sit and dwell in the why’s and how’s of other people’s journeys and lose focus of our own. I’ve spent a long time trying to find an easier softer way, comparing myself to other peoples recoveries and while doing so, it actually led me down a road that was much, much harder, not easier.
The question was, “What is their quality of life”. What a powerful question indeed. Something I never used to consider. I used to see people with flashy, materialistic items and immediately thought to myself, I want that, how do I get that? Not once did I think “what is their quality of life.” I never asked myself are they truly happy? I am not saying people with nice things aren’t happy, the point is that external objects interested me more than the overall quality of life, internal happiness, contentment, and peace.
I think this is a very important question we must ask ourselves in our own recovery journeys. Recovery is not just about putting the substances down, it’s about increasing our overall quality of life. Going through the 12-steps made me realize that drugs and alcohol are a symptom of the actual problem. The actual problem was centered in my mind and my spirit. I have a mind that lies to me and a spirit that’s asleep and will grasp on to anything to feel alive.
Going through the 12 steps not only removed the drink and drug problem but gave me a new perspective on life and increased the overall quality drastically. The 12 steps aren’t just a solution to drugs and alcohol, they are a solution to life. I can now handle life on life’s terms much better than I could before and reached a new level of enlightenment I never knew was possible. Recovery is a journey, but man, it’s a beautiful one.