“I was going to be homeless if I did not go into treatment”
“My family thinks I drink too much and they did an intervention”
“I overdosed and my drug dealer called the police”
“My doctor said I was going to die if I didn’t stop doing drugs”
“I was losing everything in my life, my family, and my job”
“I have no idea why I am here; I don’t have a problem”
“I had enough and just couldn’t do it anymore”
These are actual statements made by people who are now in recovery.
I am blessed to meet people every day in recovery, and I always take the opportunity to ask them the question, “What brought you into treatment?” It can assist me to understand their circumstances, and can give me an indication of their perspectives, as well as provide a way to observe their openness and willingness for their own recovery process.
One thing I learned in my own recovery, was my perspective HAD to change. Not only with the realization of my addiction, but moving forward, how I was going to look at the rest of my life.
Let’s begin with looking in the mirror, or the full-blown moment when my life had become unmanageable. I knew I was in trouble, had tried to stop on my own multiple times, and I was unsuccessful. Working in the healthcare industry, I was completely aware of all negative effects of long-term drinking on my body and my brain. I also had lost four people in my life due to alcohol. It was not enough to make me stop or even consider stopping. What turned the tables for me was when I got a DUI. It jolted my awareness and gave a me a completely different perspective. Having a DUI was an experience that I never want to repeat. Yet it gave me pause, and allowed me to truly see for the first time what was going on. Now I know it was a blessing in disguise.
I was not thinking it was a blessing when it happened. It was a very challenging time for me. I was not feeling good about it at all when it hit me. I was embarrassed, remorseful, fearful, and my heart was heavy. I continued to beat myself up for about three weeks, and found myself in a dark place. I was not drinking and therefore my emotional state was raw. I would cry every time I raised my hand in AA meetings those first three weeks. I was grateful when I came to the awareness that something needed to change. It was my perspective.
I began to say myself, “It’s not what happens to you in life, it’s how you look at it and how you grow from it that matters”. Our past does not define us. I needed to make a choice about how I was going to look at the experience and help myself move forward in a healthy way. I became aware of my self-talk, I kept it positive and did not allow myself to be overly critical. Knowing your strengths is just as important as knowing your weaknesses. Allow yourself to see all your goodness, love yourself, and be grateful for all that you are and what you are becoming.
Moving forward my plan was to make sure my perspective about life, and my recovery was going to be optimistic, inspiring, and preventative. I needed to be more aware in maintaining a healthy perspective. I had to make some time to think about it. I had to prepare for it. I had to take action each and every day moving forward if wanted to stay in recovery. I decided once a week every Sunday to add my recovery plan to my planner. It is ALWAYS added first. The rest of my activities, and the various things to get accomplished are added around my recovery. I do not “fit-in” my recovery when I have time or when a space is created for it.
I needed to see that my recovery was an opportunity. An opportunity for self-growth, spirituality, service to others, health, peace of mind, fellowship, fun, manifestation, creativity. I needed to know and believe that these opportunities were possible, never-ending, and carried unlimited potential. By allowing my perspective to shift I was able to invite all these wonderful opportunities into my life. I welcomed them in, and raised my level of expectation for myself and for my future. These new perspectives were in sharp contrast to the bleak perspective and the total lack of perspective I possessed in addiction.
Changing our perspective can allow us to envision a positive future, to create and manifest a life we dream about, and to have faith in our heart and soul that it is ALL truly possible. I deserve it and so do you.
Patricia V. Pavkovich works for MAP Health Management, LLC, as a Program Coordinator for Origins Hanley/South Padre Island. Patty has a B.S. in Secondary Health Education and a Doctor of Chiropractic degree. She is a yoga instructor and enjoys riding her Harley in her spare time.