Abstinence Based Recovery

I feel shame in being abstinent. There, I said it.

Drinking is legal, socially acceptable and the only drug I have pursued to the absolute limits. Alcohol is an addictive substance and all whom consume it are vulnerable to becoming dependent on it. I wonder perhaps if I had known it was as bad as heroin to withdraw from, would I have dabbled in those circumstances, pressured by my peers with youthful aspirations of behaving like adults?

My normality consists of prolonged abstinence from alcohol. Sometimes it’s difficult to recall the days of miserable existence. I don’t want to recall those memories to prevent relapse, but to celebrate the day I now get to live in that’s filled with hope, gratitude and possibility. I’m learning that recovery is accepting a new way of living. The shame I feel originates from not being capable of drinking moderately. I was different when I drank and now I’m different again and the only difference is that I have to do things with real passion, determination, rationale, assertiveness and compassion rather than the empty gestures of an alcohol fueled after thought. It’s a massive difference.

I’ve been given a lot of encouragement recently to reach for something that seems unobtainable. They see potential and I see a fraud with no self worth. I’m guessing it’s the battle that rages between my ego and self-worth. One desires to be better than the rest whilst the other delights in recognising authentic qualities. The cessation of the proverbial wolves fighting is subject to which one is fed thus allowing the other to wither away. The absence of alcohol from my life is enabling, empowering, beckoning my potential to flourish and come to fruition; it can’t be hastened. I must trust in my intuition, now that it can be relied upon, to be patient, grateful and humble in what I do. This takes practice and willingness to be open to the wisdom of lessons.

I hope the deep sense of shame dissipates as my recovery journey develops. One day at a time we get a daily reprieve from the dis-ease of alcoholism. I need conscious contact with my interpretation of a Higher Power and I need my tribe, the recovery community. Tethered by experience, regardless of how we found sobriety. We must engage in conversation and help each other live one day at a time.


Published by From Wretched to Recovery

Writing about my experience of alcoholism and recovery from addiction. The aftermath, the lessons learnt, the wisdom acquired, healing through gratitude, compassion and forgiveness.

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