The Invisible Shift

When I first decided to go to treatment, I was so proud of my decision and thankful for the immense support that followed me there. Being in recovery was the only focus in my life, so naturally, anything outside of that fell to a back burner. I’ve noticed that as time has progressed, recovery has become a lot less consuming. An invisible shift happened. Upon entering treatment I complained- “Will recovery always be like this?” And life has proven the answer is no. Recovery is individualized and entirely unique, yet each person shares common threads.

Of course it is still important, but it is just a part of life now- not a defining factor of how I spend my time. Maybe it’s different for the alcoholics that drank every single day. Maybe recovery is just as big of a deal now, as it was when they first got sober. But for me? I feel like I’m quietly dancing within the walls of sobriety. I have a sponsor, I go to meetings- but the investment I made then doesn’t seem to compare to now. So I’m wondering if this is a bad thing, or a really good thing. Coming to the point where I don’t have to focus on sobriety and recovery every moment- but I can just live life- implementing lessons learned as I go. Maybe this is a beautiful gift that is uncomfortable because there is no big scene. There isn’t drama. No more piles of encouraging letters in the mail, and not even any scoldings. And why? Because I’m actually thriving in sobriety, and for me, thriving at anything healthy is uncomfortable. 

But as of recent, fear has been creeping in. The fear of, “if they find out I’m an alcoholic, they will treat me differently.”  I’m no different than before, except a thousand times healthier. But I fear even this “battle of overcoming” will cast doubt into the minds of people who haven’t walked this journey with me. It can be such a disheartening and paralyzing thought. I’m projecting my deepest fears onto the minds of strangers, and then reacting accordingly. Sometimes I’m tempted to walk in the shadows of my addiction because I think that’s what’s expected of me.

I just don’t want people to be apprehensive around me. I don’t want to be seen as less or weak, because I’m not. I’m more and I’m stronger than before, because I’ve learned how to fight. Sure, there is temptation, but isn’t that life? What makes me less powerful than the next? If anything, I’ve done the work to gain the tools to turn my face away and voice a resounding “no” when addiction tries to slither back in. 

I don’t face recovery with the same enthusiasm I did when I first flew to Florida for rehab. But I now approach sobriety with uncompromising thankfulness, and I’m such a better woman because of it.

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