Priya’s Battle With Addiction Blog Series : Part 5 of 12
Posted by Reboot
Sober for the first time and free from the obsession of Self, I could finally see myself for who I am. A true understanding of ‘assets and my liabilities’, as my sponsor told me, was the key to growing as a person. I was quite the restless one, the trick however was to keep moving in the right direction. Being desperate to get out of the gates of my own hell, I took a leap of faith and started the journey of self discovery.
Early in recovery I was told that Alcoholism is an incurable disease but one day at a time I could arrest the disastrous drinking and my stinking thinking. This was a challenge I had decided to take on within a few months of coming into the 12 step program. Ninety sober days and ninety insightful 12 step meetings later, I was ready to go to any lengths to stay sober.
For as long as I could remember I had trouble fitting in with people, places and situations. I seldom felt superior to another and mostly felt less than. In recovery, my sponsor told me I needed to feel right sized – one among many and different from none.
In the rooms of the 12 step program I felt very much at home. Here, I was not any more special or worse than another- I was just like everyone else. A drunk who wanted to stay sober and lived by a few simple principles that would help me make the most of my sober life. It was easy to feel comfortable with myself in the rooms- no one judged, no one pulled me down and no one singled me out. But what about the world outside the rooms? How would I make it out there?
My sponsor made me chart out a list of what I felt were my good qualities and a list of what I didn’t like. This was one of the most challenging exercises I have had to do. For one, I couldn’t think of a single good quality! My list of character defects was long and unending. Working on this list with my sponsor I saw that alcohol had turned me into a selfish, self-centered and dishonest human being.
I was always filled with guilt of my wrong doings, surrounded by shame about my dishonesty and my drinking. I was also filled with remorse for a lot of my actions after drinking alcohol. When sober, I was filled with fear- especially that of people; I was extremely insecure and often found comfort in loathing and self-pity. When I didn’t get my way I would resent; surge of anger surrounded me and I was quick to react. I was impatient and intolerant of people and quick to judge and condemn.
Awareness of my true nature was quite a revelation. My sponsor made me see that some of my reactions were purely when I was under the influence of substance- that it wasn’t actually me! What a relief it was to know I wasn’t all that bad a person. The challenge now was to deal with the emotions that surfaces when I was sober. I was told from here on that I didn’t need to be scared of these emotions, and that they were a part of my making as human.Sobriety was empowering in an amazing way- as I would allow myself to feel these emotions and talk about them to my sponsor, I could recognize what caused them. The 12 step program said I should feel them, reveal them and heal from them. It was magical and I could not do this alone. The more I would practice the 12 step program, the more awareness of my triggers would kick in. Being aware of the triggers and my reactions was half the battle won! With guidance from the sponsor, I was able to handle the triggers in a healthy and mature manner and not let my character defects come in the way.
Now for my character assets. Soon into recovery, I was told to make this list and read it every morning in my prayer. I was to appreciate myself for one self-less deed I did a day or to compliment myself at least once a day- this was the start of my journey of loving myself. It worked! In no time, I started to see more good than bad in me. I realized the good in me is my treasure, I must respect it and cultivate it on a regular basis. The more I started to admire the good in me, I lost the fear of the human side and negativity I occasionally showed.
Learning to accept and love myself for who I am is the greatest gift of recovery. For the first time in my life, I’m actually comfortable in my own skin. I embrace the good and don’t shy away from dealing with the bad. The 12 step program teaches me to persevere because our journey is about progress, not perfection.
” Find out what happens next as Priya shares how she learnt the true meaning of the word resentment and was able to replace it with acceptance ”
Priya is an Addict and an Alcoholic who came into recovery at the young age of 23. She continues to work a 12 step program closely with a sponsor and has been sober for 5 years since 2011. Priya lives in New Delhi-India and has a joyous and fulfilling personal and professional life. In her free time, Priya enjoys reading, listening to music, bake and watching movies. She strongly believes that for her to keep what she has learned in recovery, she must share her experience, strength and hope with other recovering Addicts and Alcoholics.