Sunday, December 11, 2016

How Acceptance and Open-Mindedness Led to My Recovery

How Acceptance and Open-Mindedness Led to My Recovery
By Cecil Williams

Staying Clean One Day at a Time

The mental health system has done an amazing amount of work in improving the lives of former drug addicts and even practicing alcoholics. Although professionals spend countless hours to assess and assist substance users through their daily living activities, I have found that groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) offer users priceless opportunities to meet and talk about lifestyles from active using to recovery. The message presents as “now is the time to stop using and get our lives back together, where everyday living is returned to being manageable,” and “,” is something I can work with.

I had the affinity for any type of alcoholic beverage, and began drinking heavily, which started out for me as a social activity. Not realizing that alcohol was a deadly drug, nor that I had a genetic predisposition to using, I was unaware of the physical and emotional strain of drinking alcohol, which exacerbated my reckless behavior provoked by low self-esteem issues. It has been thirty years since AA got me to the point of recognizing I could utilize Bill W's book and the meetings to request help and stick with the simple effective program. The twelve steps helped me discover how tomorrow could be better. I would find myself not reaching for that bottle or can or glass of alcohol. I celebrate today because of those rooms where countless other addicts shared their stories and experiences to make amends. The AA/NA creed of confidentiality gave me the strength to struggle to be sober and clean and reflect what lay beyond the substance.

Nowadays when attending AA meetings, I perceive along with others the need to stay out of hospitals. As alcoholics, perseverance demands of us to stay sober and among the living. I now witness that some individuals have an enjoyable time drinking at parties or bars without the repercussions of being labeled alcoholic. The alcoholic has a double whammy confronting them. We can pinpoint the problems and try to resolve them by discontinuing the use of alcohol. Meetings have shown persons with clean time or even newcomers the necessity to sober up and admit that assistance is necessary.

Shortly after professionals targeted in and told me to get it together and go to Dual Recovery Meetings, which I was allowed to lead at times, I became interested in the journey of other members of the group who had gone another route with drugs such as heroin, marijuana, crack and ecstasy. That seemed alien to me at first. Primarily, I decided that I desired to be informed about street drugs and the pattern of moving on to accepting hardcore substances (NA considers alcohol to be a drug as well). My friends went to Narcotics Anonymous meetings, and their true colors shone through. I became willing to talk about and accept that the use of any substance is bad for us. My comprehension increased and I recognized the seriousness of how lives that had been destroyed have to be pieced back together again before relationships, dancing and real enjoyment of life could be achieved.

As the mental health professionals perceive the need to deal with drug and alcohol use and assist victims who have had a history of such substances, we see the possibilities of a future with less reliance on substances and a diminishing of substance abuse. Physical health can be adversely affected by prolonged use, and medicines are required to attempt to restore the physical and emotional state to a healthy level. 

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