Gratitude, Forgiveness, and Kindness

Gratitude, forgiveness, kindness. I want to live my life today guided by these traits. My disease of alcoholism began decades ago. Over the last 15+ years, I sought help at 2 residential treatment centers. I was a “closet” alcoholic so finally getting help at the first treatment center lifted a huge burden off of me. But over the years, I was in active addiction more than I was in continuous recovery. I continued to go to AA meetings, and I continued to have a sponsor in spite of my reoccurrences. My disease continued to progress. It took more alcohol in me to feel the effects, and the effects were not as long lasting. I chose very dangerous substances to drink to get the effect I needed. This is the progression of alcoholism, and as I learned, I was in the late stages. Deep in my soul, I knew I was not going to give up. And the God of my understanding also knew that. My current sponsor of 5+ years suggested I reach out to the NCCDP. In February 2020, I spoke with Nancy D. and asked her for help. I honestly didn’t know what I was committing myself into, but I was desperate to get well. I started with NCCDP’s recommendation, though it really was a requirement, to enroll in an approved IOP program. I was in this treatment for 4 months. I voluntarily continued treatment with their Relapse Prevention Program (RPP) for 3 and ½ months. Finally, I voluntarily enrolled in another RPP with Tammy Bell, one of the nation’s leading experts in addiction and recovery. I know this continuous treatment was instrumental in my recovery. But one of the most helpful things for my recovery has been the NCCDP’s random drug testing. This requirement has kept me accountable. And the consequences are hefty if I test positive. I understand the positive effect accountability has on my recovery. The contract I signed with NCCDP was for 5 years and the random drug testing is part of it. Using the medical description of disease, if my disease of addiction stays in remission for 5 years, like other diseases, the likelihood of continuous recovery is very high. I want to continue to experience the joy of living in recovery. My spiritual wellness is enhanced by attending my AA and Caduceus meetings. I’m among people who are supportive and caring. The treatment program NCCDP offers is a big part of why my disease is in remission. Everyone I’ve come in contact with at NCCDP, Nancy, Susan, Bill and others who are part of this program are some of the most compassionate people I’ve come to know.

I carried a lot of shame about my alcoholism. And that is unfortunate, but I did. Forgiveness is necessary for my recovery. And it starts with forgiving myself. I’ll close with a lyric by Don Henley; “The more I know, the less I understand…. but I think it’s about…. forgiveness.”

I am a dental hygienist who’s grateful to be in recovery.