by Kyle Beard on Tuesday, November 24th, 2015
The time of year during Thanksgiving can often be overshadowed by scrumptious meals, time with family and friends, and holiday sales. The foundation of Thanksgiving is rather simple – being thankful – but it often gets overlooked due to the festivities of the holiday. I wanted to challenge all of our readers in recovery to think about what they are thankful for today. Some individuals may be living at inpatient facilities, participating in intensive outpatient programs, weekly therapy, or long-term recovery. Regardless of your place in the recovery journey, here are a few ideas from my own story that could spark ideas of thankfulness for you in your recovery.
1. Recovery – Okay, this may seem like a given, but let’s not overlook the obvious. Recovery is a way of life, the pursuit of a healthy, life-giving journey every day. Many individuals not in recovery, pursue drugs, alcohol, money, prestige, and more in an attempt to find fulfillment and happiness. Those of us in recovery know joy is a state of mind found within ourselves. We are blessed to be able to walk the path to wholeness, and though we falter along the way, we are pursuing a truly happy life in daily recovery.
2. Honesty – There’s one consistent fact about addicts – we are fantastic at twisting and withholding the truth. Throughout my addiction I lied to others about where I had been, what I was doing, and more, to keep my addiction alive. Sometimes I would lie just because it was normal for me, even when it wasn’t needed. Deep down, the person I lied to the most was myself. Living a life of recovery means honesty with others, but more importantly, being honest with myself about how I’m feeling, what I need, and who I am. The freedom of honesty with myself is one of the greatest gifts recovery gave me, one I am deeply thankful for having.
3. Peace – There is one singular word that describes my life in addiction perfectly – chaos. The pursuit of my drug, the wreckage of relationships along the way, and the internal shame and anger towards myself, created a life of utter chaos. Though it took a long time to find it, peace came to me through discipline and hard work in my recovery journey. If you are in a treatment facility reading this at the start of your recovery, you may be learning for the first time what the word even means. One of the beauties of recovery is that peace becomes obtainable. I have peace of mind in knowing who I am, what I need, and how to get there, for the first time in decades. Recovery gave me a clear mind to find the very real place of peace.
4. Knowing Who I Am – I would do whatever was needed to keep living in my addiction in my worst days. The idea of “me” changed depending on what would get me the easiest or fastest fix. If I needed to be outgoing to keep attention away from the truth, I was. If I need to be a recluse to keep others at bay and my addiction hidden, I’d do it. Throughout my addiction, I never felt comfortable in my own skin because I didn’t know who I was. Recovery encouraged me to ask the tough questions, separating the addiction from my true self and uncovering the real person underneath. Today I can hold my head high, not because I am good enough or have arrived, but because I know who I am, and I’m proud to be me.
These are just a few ways I’m thankful for my recovery. Recovery gave me tools that I would never want to be without, and I don’t know when or how I would have learned them without this journey. My recovery journey revealed the opportunity to live a life I never imagined possible. During this time of Thanksgiving, I’m taking a few moments to be thankful for what my recovery brought me – recovery, honesty, peace, and knowing who I am. Thank you recovery.