Recovery: An Inside Job

by Miss Bobbie Nicholas

The dictionary defines recovery as "An act, a process, or duration of recovering; a return to normal condition. To recover means to get back something lost or taken, usually a quality or status rather than an object." To many, the act of recovery means to learn how to live free from the use of alcohol and/or drugs. But usually it is much more than that. Addiction to chemicals, in most cases is only a symptom of an underlying cause. Those symptoms are for the most part internal, caused by influences outside of ourselves.

In my personal case, FEAR was the internal culprit caused by being bullied and teased as a young teenager. Until age 15, when I began drinking alcohol, and I became the bully. Naturally I wasn't a bully but I became one as result of the alcohol. My entire personality had changed because I began drinking to get rid of the internal fear.

I had lost my self-respect, my self-esteem, my peace of mind, and everything that makes life worth living. In this process I became addicted to the drug alcohol. My personal recovery started when I began to take back that which was taken from me. I couldn't even stop drinking or using any drug until I learned what was causing my addictions. In March of 1997, when I decided to come totally out of the closet, a certain amount of fear returned, but I was determined not to be pushed around or bullied anymore.

Yes, I had to go to a treatment center as I have done many times before, but this time I was going for a different reason. I truly had a sincere desire to stop using chemicals. As each day passed, I achieved more and more strength. And this was just my recovery from the use of chemicals. Other recoveries in my life found their way to the surface, one by one. I've recovered my desire to live and be who I am without fear. Recovery is a wonderful thing, and should be cherished with each step that we take. Was it Confucius who said "A journey of a thousand miles begins with the very first step"? And each step that follows will become easier than the one before.

Yes, recovery is an inside job. There are, however, outside influences that bring on a desire to achieve lasting recovery. Like the horse that you lead to water, you cannot make it drink, but you can make it very thirsty. The rest of a person's recovery comes from the inside by making necessary changes in one's life. I hope that I can influence others enough to help them bring about the changes that they need to succeed.