“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sobriety vs. Recovery
RECOVERY IS HARD. I realize that statement may sound obvious, simplistic, and even naïve, but the fact of the matter is…RECOVERY IS HARD…and frequently misunderstood.
I believe recovery is often used synonymously with sobriety, and although critically related, they aren’t the same thing from my viewpoint. To me, sobriety simply means not consuming the substance or substances that alter my thoughts, emotions, moods, etc. resulting in an unmanageable life. Many of us simply refer to it as not “putting in.”
Recovery, on the other hand, has been defined by professionals much smarter than me as: (1) a return to a normal state of health and mind and (2) learning how to live life without using substances as our coping mechanism.
My Desire for Recovery, Not Just Sobriety
In my own journey, sobriety is the most straightforward and controllable aspect of recovery because I can merely choose to not “put in.”
In 25+ years of drinking and using, I was never accosted by a roving band of alcoholics/addicts and made to consume drugs or alcohol (even though I may have claimed otherwise).
I created every justification one can imagine to drink or use, and in my own mind, I may have felt I didn’t have choice. But in reality, I’ve always had a choice…Yes or No.
My desire for recovery, not just sobriety, has required much more than a choice. It has required me to scrutinize all the moving parts that make up ME…attitudes, thoughts, perceptions, values, relationships, and beliefs, just to name a few.
It’s Not as Simple as Deciding “Yes” or “No”
I’ve begun the process of reevaluating and recalibrating my entire life including, my goals, my aspirations, my priorities, and my purpose. I’ve had to accept some uncomfortable truths and face stark realities.
I’m slowly learning to forgive others for the pain and trauma they have caused while asking forgiveness for the multitude of ways I injured others. I’ve also had to develop a belief and faith in something greater than myself and completely alter the prism through which I have viewed my very existence for all my adult life.
How much easier would this be if sobriety and recovery were the same thing, and I could simply choose Yes or No?
The Miracle of My Recovery
Fortunately, I’ve not had to experience this process and journey alone. God brought me to His Way in Huntsville, Alabama in 2020, and my life was forever changed. I have been blessed with an outpouring of fellowship, love, and guidance as I now pursue a life of true recovery while following the message of Jesus Christ.
Those involved in the ministry of His Way firmly believe in a multilayered and comprehensive approach to both addiction recovery and life in general. Through my involvement with His Way, I have learned what I must do daily to experience a life filled with contentment that not so long ago I felt that I didn’t deserve and would never achieve.
A life free of drugs and alcohol and being able to call myself a Christian is now “normal” to me, and trust me when I say, that in and of itself is a miracle.
Written by Chris Stone, Administrative Manager and Case Manager of His Way Atlanta and former graduate of the His Way Huntsville Recovery program.