Recovery is not a one-time event. It’s a daily choice.
My name is Mike Chambers, and I’m a recovering heroin addict. I recently shared a blog post about my experiences in addiction, and my escape from a downward spiral. Now, I’m going to talk about the things that changed in my life after recovery.
1. I realized every little choice is powerful.
This is a fact I just never understood before. Life was miserable, and my only real daily choices revolved around when and where to get high. Now, I know that every little choice to get high was a choice not to engage in life or healthy relationships. I didn’t care who knew, I didn’t care what else was going on and I definitely didn’t care who I hurt. I was so consumed by my addiction that nothing else mattered. A sequence of small but poor choices altered the entire course of my life.
2. Achieving goals of any size became a huge deal.
When I decided to quit using, I started by developing goals. The biggest on the list? To make amends with my family, be successful, and of course, stop using drugs. The goals were a bit vague, but I knew that’s what I needed to do at the time to get started.
Once I set my goals, I knew that recovery was the first step. I went to meetings, listened closely and did what was suggested for me. I got a sponsor, and I started working through the steps. I even took on a couple service commitments, and found that helping others is what really helps me—leading me to successfully start my own recovery center.
3. Life actually started to matter again.
Rock bottom for me was a dehumanizing mixture of jails, institutions, and near death experiences—but it didn’t lead me directly to developing a life of purpose. When I was incarcerated I was forced to stop using, but it wasn’t until I chose to get into recovery did my life change. After detox, I started creating goals, and began to think and I knew deep down that my life couldn’t continue like it had been. Before that decision, “life purpose” hadn’t even been on my radar. It was all about the next moment.
4. Family relationships changed for the better.
When I was in the middle of my addiction, I estranged the people I cared about most—especially my family. When I made the decision to get clean and sober, my family became a part of my life again, which gave me the initial boost I needed to start on the road to success, and was incidentally one of my goals.
5. My definition of “fun” completely changed...
For many years, I was convinced that getting high was the only fun worth having. I’d been using for so long, I forgot what actual fun was. While in recovery, I started to redefine fun again for myself. I started going to the beach, listening to and playing music, going out to dinner, meeting new people, and spending time with my family.
6. ...and so did my attitude and personality.
When I was high, I was a very different person—a miserable, hateful person. I was very uncaring and demanding of my family and friends. I think I wanted everybody else to feel that same misery I was in. When I got clean, I started to interact with people differently. I may not be perfect, but I’ve learned how to treat people well and show respect to everyone, regardless of what they can offer me.
For the most part, my life has greatly improved since I quit using. But there are still days where I’m stressed about things or life seems to just not be going my way.
Now, I have different ways of handling situations like this. I’ve noticed that when I’m down or just not feeling right, putting on some music really helps me. When I was in treatment, I learned about breathing exercises, which I still use. Sometimes, it just takes a few deep breaths for me to totally change my mood.
The most important thing that’s changed? I know now that I don’t need to put anything in my body for things to change. I have the power to do that on my own.
Are you or a loved one seeking treatment for an addiction? At Pat Moore Foundation, we believe strongly in the power of a customized, safe detoxing experience. Get in touch with us today, and see if your insurance will cover treatment.