Saturday, September 24, 2011
Breaking the Silence
Today was PRO-ACT's 11th annual walk to celebrate recovery. The Walk celebrates individuals who have sustained long-term recovery and honors people and organizations who make recovery possible. I LOVE this walk and I'm already thinking about next year's walk and how I can motivate people to get involved and participate. I walked two years ago for the first time. (I had to miss it last year since I was still recovering from sinus surgery.) I walked with Livengrin, the Foundation for Addiction Recovery. My sponsor works at Livengrin and I am planning to start volunteering there sometime soon. (I wanted to wait until TC was in school, and he's now doing three days a week.)
I want so much for the stigma and misunderstandings about recovery to be wiped out. I avoided getting help the first three years of my sobriety because I didn't want 'the stigma'. I barely made it through those white-knuckled years, and I should have gone to rehab and started a program of recovery from the beginning. I let other people's ideas about recovery affect my decision, and that was a mistake. I thank God that I never relapsed, because I was doing everything wrong.
Now that I have some time under my belt, I have thought more and more about how I can help to remove the stigma, so that people will stop being afraid to get help. I didn't have to suffer alone, and I want to share recovery with others. I was reading on the Faces & Voices of Recovery web site and this line struck me: "By our silence we let others define us." I don't want to be silent about my success in recovery because my story can help someone else.
There are more than 20 million Americans in long-term recovery. Isn't that amazing? What we have is worth talking about and worth sharing. I recently heard Warren Barfield, a musician, talking about mistakes he had made in his marriage and he said, "I don't tell my story to relive my shame. I tell my story to relive my victory." Amen, brother.