What Six Years of Being Clean Taught Me

September 21 2010 was the day my life changed- it was the day I woke up. It was the day everything changed because of one single choice that just had to be made. This way the day I got clean. My birthday, Christmas, New Years doesn’t excite me quite like this day does. Why? Because in the end- this is the day that I recreated myself.

There are a lot of feelings that resolve around this day- anger, happiness, shame, resentment, excitement, and fear. For non-addicts it’s hard to understand why I might have these feelings towards my own clean date. But for all you addicts out there, it’s probably a familiar anxiety you have.

Every year I post a Facebook status- sometimes it’s coded and sometimes it’s written rather clear as day. For the post part, the comments are pleasant, celebratory- but not always. I am supported for the most part in my journey of recovery but there is always a comment or two about how if I never used drugs I’d never have to worry about celebrating this date.

This isn’t going to be some uplifting post- these last six years have been hard. When they tell you in groups that you know nothing about recovery after a year or two- they’re not lying because you really don’t know shit about recovery. At times, even to this day, I feel like I am fighting multiple lions with no weapons. There are days I still question myself and days when my skin is way  to thin and I have to retreat.

One of the hardest lessons I learned is that looking back is the worse thing you can do for yourself. Not just on drug use, but friendships, relationships, mistakes, and dreams. There have been times when I have wanted to contact old friends to just check up. I have found that it hurts when they are still using, but harder, when they got clean themselves and just have no interest in contact. I’ve realized it’s selfish, completely selfish to call people up and say sorry for the things you said, things you did, and things you didn’t do just to make yourself better- because maybe they do not want to revisit that. They owe you nothing, especially a “I accept your apology” or, “I am happy you’re clean now.”

It was hard for me to learn that not everyone is going to forgive, and maybe, I don’t deserve to be forgiven.

Part of that becomes easier when you separate your using self and your real self. My active using self isn’t me, I look back at the memories like stories- as though it wasn’t me. That is what recovery is about- rediscovery.










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