Because We’re Worth It!

From Each Day A New Beginning,May 27:

“’As the wheel of the decades turns, so do a person’s needs, desires, and tasks. Each of us does, in effect, strike a series of “deals” or compromises between the wants and longings of the inner self, and an outer environment that offers certain possibilities and sets certain limitations.’” ~Maggie Scarf

People change. We all do. Life continues to happen. And, as they say, we learn to roll with the punches. I began my recovery journey seventeen years ago. And my reason for starting it has morphed into something else. I joined 12-Step recovery to save my daughter Angie from drug addiction. In time I learned that I couldn’t save her from herself. But I could save myself from being destroyed by the family disease of addiction. And that’s why I’ve stayed—so that I can learn to live well. And what a journey it’s been!

I wasn’t living well

  1. Obsessing about Angie and how to save her, ignoring my other children.
  2. Nearly bankrupting myself paying off her debts, sending her to many rehabs when one or two might have been enough to give her the tools she needed to choose recovery.
  3. When I didn’t call the police every time she stole from me, including my identity multiple times. It taught her nothing and saddled me with even more guilt for being an irresponsible parent.
  4. When I was so wrung out from it all that I collapsed into clinical depression and had to retire from my job.

No, before I chose recovery I was not living well. But after seventeen years of learning to let go of things I can’t control, I have learned to embrace my life with a refreshing energy that gladdens my heart as I wake up every day. Life may not have turned out to be everything I had hoped for, but it’s still pretty darn terrific if I keep my focus on taking care of myself and gratitude for all my blessings. Life is good. I’m glad I’m figuring out how to live it well!

Mary Oliver

“The Journey”
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice —
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voice behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do —
determined to save
the only life that you could save.

“Listen And Learn”

So often I don’t listen. I’m consumed by my own thoughts and the next thing I will say. But there’s so much I don’t know.

I feel I must know a great deal; I must appear strong and competent.

For others.

I know I don’t know everything, but I want to appear confident.

For others.

I would do well to put myself aside and learn from others.

For me.


The End Of Isolation

“Thank You For My Recovery”

I always end my shares at meetings with these words. Why am I thanking the people there for my recovery? Because they and so many others are the mirrors I need to see myself as I really am and grow.

Before my recovery in the rooms, I was depressed and very isolated. I still saw people, I worked, I had friends. But on what level was I operating a lot of the time? I was often very dishonest, with myself most of all. So I shuffled through life, bewildered, often feeling like a victim, sad, and unaware of the tools out there that, if utilized, gave me the power to be happy.

The 12-Steps and other tools I’ve picked up in the rooms are my guidepost for living. They encourage me to review my life but not to stay stuck in the past. They ask me to look at my imperfections, ways I may have hurt others, make amends to them, and move on. This is where the mirrors I mentioned are especially critical, why it’s helpful to have a sponsor and other friends who can give me honest feedback about myself. Help me to be accountable. To grow. Up. Shed any illusions about myself that may have been getting in my way.

I got my life back in the rooms. Regardless of the storms whirling around me, and we all know what that’s like, if I have myself and my health and wellbeing to anchor me, I’m much stronger to weather my difficulties.

Trusting In Ourselves

From Hope for Today, November 12:

“Serenity? What is that? For years, I was like a weather vane that spun around according to the air currents that other people generated… I attributed these mood swings to nervousness, lack of assurance, and whoever else occupied the room at the time. Serenity always seemed beyond my control… Where does this serenity come from? It comes from trusting that everything in my life is exactly as it should be… It comes when I choose to care for myself rather than to fix someone else…

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: I am powerless over many things, but my serenity is not one of them.”

In the rooms I am learning to keep the focus on myself rather than obsess about fixing other people. We have learned to “release our addicts with love and cease trying to change them.” I am the only person I have power over, and when I pay attention to my own growth and betterment, everyone else in my life benefits. This is selfishness at its best.

Someone once told me that the greatest gift we can give our children is our own happiness. So I will continue to strive for it every day—and it will nourish them and all the people in my life.

Our Growth Through Recovery

 From Opening Our Hearts, Transforming Our Losses, p. 170:

“Reflecting on our progress:

‘Looking back, I can still experience the pain I once felt. But it’s the looking back that tells me how I have grown.’

…We recall where we were at the onset of our grief and acknowledge where we are today. Step Twelve is not only about our own changes. One member came to realize that Step Twelve is about more than creating a better life for himself; it is also about encouraging and helping others. When we share our struggles and the changes we’ve made, we inspire others and offer hope that healing from our grief is possible.

‘Thanks to Al-Anon, I have done more than just survive. I have emerged as a stronger, more loving, and more compassionate human being.’”


I liken the onset of my grief to being in a dark tunnel. Absolutely immersed in darkness and stumbling around, for lack of light. I stumbled around for a long time, crippled by my own demons and an inflated sense of responsibility.

Thank God for my recovery program which I finally had the good sense to follow. Years later, humbled by my inability to save my daughter, after countless meetings, readings and sharing, I decided that I was worth saving.

Unless we live in a bubble, there are surely other people in our lives whom we love and who love us. I miss Angie terribly, and I pray for her every day. But it’s the other people in my life who are benefitting the most from my ongoing recovery.

I’m grateful that I stayed in my program long enough for the miracles to begin. I made it through the tunnel and found the light. My life is good right now. I can laugh till my belly aches. I’m grateful for what’s right in front of me.

I’ve stopped chasing the butterfly.