“If I pick up a drink or a drug. I don’t stop. Something stops me..” ~Anonymous

– Michael R., Alumni

This is the central fact that I can never loose sight of, never forget. Yet this seems to be the very first thing my Disease wants me to forget. Like most people who live with the challenges of an addictive personality, my memory can be short and my capacity to minimize the consequences can be virtuosic.

When it comes to confronting these problems, I find that it often helps to specifically recall just exactly how far down the ladder my addictions have taken me and precisely what conditions have stopped the progression—usually in an abrupt and unpleasant manner (incarceration, the loss of a cherished job, a sudden lack of access to beloved friends and family, profound relocation and extended—and expensive—stays in rehabilitation facilities, just to name a few.)

Then, too, there is the realization of all that I have gained in the past few years of my Recovery: real friends and connections that care deeply about me on many different levels; knowledge, memory and clarity of mind about what I do and where I go; peace of mind about my past, present and future; a clarity of mind and soundness of body that feels solid and reliable; a trust in my own ability to fulfill the commitments I make.

Most of all, though, is a grateful realization that I have regained a strong sense of personal agency and autonomy within the context of my life. I get to begin (and end) things in my life on my own terms and conditions. I’m able to show up for myself and those I love in a way I never could when foreign chemicals—and the irrational behaviors that went with them—were in control.

These kinds of inventories and understandings are some of the best motivations I’ve found to keep me going on this “road of happy destiny.”