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I Thought I Was Different

Sober Mommies I Thought I Was DifferentFrom the moment I walked into my first recovery meeting, I had a very clear picture of who I was, and an even clearer picture of how (I thought) everyone else saw me.

I was different. I was special.

Getting and staying clean would obviously be harder for me than everyone else. I had a list of reasons my addiction and recovery would be met with unique struggles.

  • I didn’t go to a detox facility or rehab center, I didn’t learn the tools that it appeared everyone else had.
  • I never had any sort of therapy or addiction-related counseling.
  • I didn’t relocate. I got clean in the same town and same house I got high in.
  • I was one of few not residing in a “sober-living” facility, and wasn’t surrounded 24/7 with “housemates” that were recovering too.
  • Compared to what I was hearing from others, my story was lacking. I hadn’t used _____ drug, or _____ method, or done “that,” yet.
  • Unlike many others in the group, I didn’t come from one of the more dangerous cities. I was an educated, suburban girl. I wasn’t “tough.”
  • My “war stories” couldn’t hold a candle to others.
  • I had not suffered any intense traumas to run from or use over.
  • I had no children, so I didn’t have extra pressures or people to get/stay clean for.
  • I didn’t suffer many severe consequences in active addiction. The worst that had happened was the loss of a bullshit job I hated anyway.

I felt like I could not relate to what I was hearing about the details of the lives of the other recovering addicts around me. I was absolutely certain they couldn’t relate to me. I heard and saw only our differences, and I never looked for our similarities. I wasn’t listening for the loneliness, despair, and isolation that surrounded out addictions.

I am very grateful no one in program called me out for my obvious focus on what made me different. If someone had, I probably would’ve argued with them anyway. One by one, all of the reasons on my list were debunked by what my friend Lisa calls, “God winks.”

I started to see old using buddies collect substantial clean time. I ran into people from the school I went to at meetings. I started to hear others tell my story, and hear my feelings echoed in their words. I began to understand that I had more in common with the people around me than I thought. I was still convinced, however, for a long time that others didn’t think anything I had to say was relevant.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I now understand why it was so important that I be different; separate.

 I was setting myself up to fail at recovery.

If I set myself apart, I would always have an excuse to use again. There would always be a reason why recovery wouldn’t work for me.

Changing my perception  of who I was had to start with me; how I felt, what I wanted, and not defining myself through comparison with others. I rarely feel unique today among other recovering addicts.

Today I’m learning not to listen with my ears, but rather, with my heart.

 

 

 

photo credit: Charlyr – [cGaleano] via photopin cc

One thought on “I Thought I Was Different

  1. Rachel I absolutely love this for a huge amount of reasons! I felt many of those reasons why I was different and also that I hadn’t done the things other people to get sober, I couldn’t relate on many levels and felt I had no business being in recovery groups. Once I learned, and am still learning, that every person and their situation is unique I realized that my recovery was special because it was my own. I didn’t need to compare it to anyone else’s because I had lived it. I guess now I have open ears and an open heart to the things or situations that I thought didn’t effect me because I hadn’t done those things as a wake up call to where I could be if I went back to who I used to be. Relapse and become old drunk Lindsay. Now I’m learning and have a lot more self awareness to all aspects of addiction not just my own. I’m always learning with an open heart and an open ear;)

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