by: Marilyn L. Davis
What is Your Recovery Legacy?
As the 42nd governor of Texas, Ann Richards was a role model. However, she felt that her 26 years in recovery was her greatest accomplishment and legacy.
“I believe in recovery, and as a role model I have the responsibility to let young people know that you can make a mistake and come back from it.”
“The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy.”― Kalu Ndukwe Kalu
I’d like you to reflect for a minute:
- Do you remember the last time you used? Do you remember how scared you were that it could be your last? I do.
- Do you remember the first time you walked into a recovery support meeting? All scared, embarrassed, and uncertain? I do.
- Do you remember picking up a thirty-day chip, getting to read at a meeting for the first time, or finally getting a medallion at a year? I do.
- Did you come back from a relapse? I haven’t relapsed, so you can see where I wouldn’t have authentic information for someone like that – you might.
People need to read about someone who’s been there, done that and survived to tell the tale.
That’s you, me, and 23 other million people in recovery. That’s a lot of different perspectives, stories, and anecdotes, but most importantly, that’s you and your words.
Why Should You Write about Your Addiction and Recovery?
If you wrote a guest post, it would help someone else understand the process. When you describe your struggles, feelings, and thoughts, it will be different from how someone else describes them, but it’s going to resonate with someone who needs those words.
How we present recovery to someone will be different – the choice of words, the stories, or the solutions. And that doesn’t mean that your ways are better than mine or vice versa; we just phrase them differently.
That’s the beauty of words. And your will touch someone and give them hope when mine won’t. No, I’m not critical of myself. I’ve been in recovery for 33 years and understand that sometimes, my words don’t make sense to someone.
That’s when I ask someone else to translate. Why? Because my choice of words wasn’t getting through. I could look at the individual and know they were discombobulated. See, that’s a word you don’t see or use every day, but it means confused. Could I have used confused, yet, but I just like the way discombobulated looks and sounds. But so what? It might not mean the right thing to someone else.
Your When, How, and Why
When did you realize you needed help? Or did someone realize it for you? My realization was an intervention by five caring individuals. For some people, it’s waking up in a jail cell for the umpteenth time. For others, it’s coming to and seeing their children crying, hungry, and afraid because mommy or daddy nodded out. Then some have employers or co-workers make one more comment on their performances.
It doesn’t matter what your rock bottom was; some are high, and some are low. That’s the nature of bottoms; they are not predictable. But whatever your bottom was, there’s someone out there who has a similar story and just needs to know how to get up and succeed. That’s where your story comes in. If you don’t write it, that person doesn’t know that someone else survived and thrived.
Did You Come Back After a Relapse?
“Never underestimate the difference YOU can make in the lives of others. Step forward, reach out, and help. This week reach to someone that might need a lift”― Pablo
I haven’t relapsed; not bragging; it’s just a fact. So, there are times that men and women in groups have said I couldn’t relate to coming back after a relapse. They are right.
But if you did relapse and then make it back to your program, how did you do it? People need clear and concise directions. I heard an old-timer tell another person, “You know what to do.” Well, they may or may not know what to do.
That’s where concrete suggestions and directions make the difference in someone coming back from a relapse and staying stuck in their addiction.
Drugs Today Are Killing People Faster
I had to make a list of all the drugs I’d used when I went to treatment. I had to ask for a second sheet of paper. I’m from the hippie era, and frankly, we’d do anything for a high. Alright, I didn’t smoke banana peels, but that was because I didn’t have any bananas, or I might have tried that, too.
Were our drugs safer? I’m not sure but rarely did we get something other than what we asked for, except when I got pot laced with PCP. After the experience, which wasn’t what I was hoping for, the dealer acknowledged what he’d done. But that was a rare occurrence; usually, our transactions were straightforward, and we got what we paid for.
Today, it’s a crapshoot. Fentanyl is everywhere and in everything, and it’s dangerous. Statistically, over 42% of pills tested for fentanyl contained at least 2 mg of fentanyl, considered a potentially lethal dose.
According to the CDC, synthetic opioids (like fentanyl) are the primary driver of overdose deaths in the United States. Comparison between 12 months-ending January 31, 2020, and the 12 months-ending January 31, 2021, during this period:
- Overdose deaths involving opioids rose 38.1 percent.
- Overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids (primarily illicitly manufactured fentanyl) rose 55.6 percent and appear to be the primary driver of the increase in total drug overdose deaths.
We Have to Offer Alternatives
“I don’t want to live in the kind of world where we don’t look out for each other. Not just the people that are close to us, but anybody who needs a helping hand. I can’t change the way anybody else thinks or what they choose to do, but I can do my bit.”― Charles de Lint
It’s heart-breaking to attend the funeral of a seventeen-year-old. She overdosed and was put in a dumpster in Atlanta in July. The trashmen found her five days later.
Obviously, there wasn’t an open casket. I don’t write that to be dramatic, but it is just one of many examples of how our young people are dying at alarming rates and under such terrible conditions.
We, in recovery, have to let these young people know that there are alternatives to using. We have to show them that they can find closure on their painful pasts. It’s essential for them to understand that there is nothing new under the sun and that someone somewhere has experienced their pain, loss, and suffering and is now in recovery.
That person is you.
Write it Today to Help Someone Find Recovery
“You don’t need to memorize the bible – you don’t need to turn water into wine – you don’t need to have an unlimited supply of bread in your basket to be a miracle worker, you just need to have the capacity to share the one bread you have with someone hungry.”― Abhijit Naskar, I Vicdansaadet Speaking: No Rest Till The World is Lifted
What is your one piece of bread? It’s your story, and sharing it can and will help someone else.
I hope you see the necessity for all of us, regardless of our bottom, age, gender, circumstances, or use, to continue to write about addiction and recovery to help this generation find solutions. Here are the submission guidelines.
Send your guest post to firstname.lastname@example.org.