I thought recovery was all about putting down the alcohol and drugs, but instead I found real life.

My name is Larry C., my sobriety date is January 29, 2011. Up to that day I felt lost, desperate, and hopeless. I reluctantly went to a 12-step meeting because I didn’t know what else to do. I thought recovery was all about putting down the alcohol and drugs, but instead I found real life. Through recovery I have learned to smile, have fun, experience peace, and actually love myself. 

I no longer need any substance to make me feel different. I am different, because I am me, and that’s good, not bad. I have friends who are sober and we support each other in recovery and in life. My family is everything to me and I can honestly and clearly say we have the best relationship in the world.

Every day is a blessing for me, and to keep my sobriety I continue to work the 12 steps. Prayer, introspection, and meditation are vital, as is the 12th step, taking the message to others. That is my purpose today, and if I can help anyone with my story, I feel that I have fulfilled my objective. My message is that NO ONE has to live like I lived, anymore.

The Great Sadness

In the time of the Great Sadness, any action, sight or sound, feels like passing thorough the dark tunnels of time

Like eavesdropping through a telescope, sometimes viewed up close and hazy; other times distant and even more hazy

Always seemingly another’s time, another’s place, another’s life, another’s rights

The weight of life and sorrow so deep and wide that movement is difficult, thought is daunting, planning out of the question.

Evening brings dark short relief from the spotlight of everlasting review, critical self-doubt and ever deepening depression

Morning light brings brief reprieve from anxiety born of internalized fear, resentment and perceived rejection

Each cycle blends so easily into the next that eventually all time and space coalesce into that melancholic existence from which there seems to be no escape.

Breathing becomes more and more difficult and the lungs feel burdened, as if some great vice presses them more and more tightly

Eyelids remain heavy, body resists movement, preferring the inertia of lying or sitting still

My mind wants to do something yet my body revolts and declines to participate

I could cry or read or meditate or phone someone or bathe or take a walk but I don’t.

The Great Sadness is now my master

I worship my master thorough supplication of self-pity, intoxication and isolation.

Who can understand such despair?

I am racked by guilt, remorse, shame, anxiety, fear, resentments, sadness, pain

I feel helpless, useless, a burden

I want to want to end this cycle of misery and addiction

I take a cursory review of the 12 steps to recovery

I awaken one day and realize that I cannot live this way any longer.

Maybe I should end it all slowly

Maybe very quickly

I am both homicidal and suicidal, often at the same time

Maybe I should pull myself up by my bootstraps

Perhaps - I could ask for help.

Then I not only ask, but allow myself to receive

Somehow the Great All Knowing All Everything Spirit of the Universal Wonderment slowly eases aside the Great Sadness

Hope begins to replace despair

Smile replaces forced attempt at expression.

Now joy, happiness, hunger, freedom, serenity, new feelings all born of sobriety

Now sights and sounds and smells and tastes.

This is my time, my place, my life, my rights.

I learn that I am not alone, there are many others willing to help.

My journey is mine alone, but I don’t have to be alone during my journey

There will always be others to hold onto, to help guide me.

My higher power, the God of my understanding, within me, within all of God’s creatures

Within nature, within the atoms and the mountains and the galaxies

Life extends, up, down, and sideways and sometimes on the diagonal

Ever imperfect, ever changing, but going on one day at a time.

And for that, I am eternally grateful.