Recovery – a Road to Self Discovery

Trapped in a bottle “Man Committing Suicide,” by Bill Nasogaluak of Tuktoyaktuk, circa 2007.


It can be difficult to get your groove back after  taking steps   in your recovery, transformation, and healing.

Maybe you went into recovery because  you felt your life depended on it,  and there is  no denying that it did. It was this desperation that propelled you down the road to recovery. Do you agree?  But it was based in fear. and got you on track. Perhaps you found yourself in that sacred place called rock bottom, where you faced the truth of your addiction.  That was your first step on your healing journey, but it could get lonely.

 Sober, your old friends create too much temptation, and you decide to stay away from them. Essentially you feel you’re not having any fun. You’re alone and miss your  party buddies. You want to have fun  and hang out with  them., but you know they are a danger to your continued sobriety.

So maybe for the first time you surround yourself with friends who are also in recovery, you listen, take their advice and before you know it life becomes easier to stay sober and you’re  having fun again.  Now that the  initial desperation that led you to recovery is gone, how do you stay sober?    

Ask yourself why you want to be sober? Perhaps you can look at your sobriety as a road to discovery and the possibility that you will learn to love who you are without taking substances.

Notice  how on this road your  transformation went from fear,  and loss.   The fear of losing your family, your job, children and or your health, to  embracing love. To feel and enjoy life without drugs or alcohol.  You begin to love yourself, maybe for the first time in your life.

Your commitment to not use substances can be transformed into a goal  that gives weight to your decision that gives philosophical meaning to your decision to be abstinent from drugs and alcohol they feed each other.  The love of who you have become as a sober person and being connected spiritually, and emotionally to life. 

This new paradigm shift can be an inspiration not only to yourself but to others. You have removed  fear and transition into loving yourself.  Maybe you have discovered you are no longer chasing excitement, drama, and chaos. You discover you are  content to be alive.   You’re able to enjoy the subtleties of life without drama. And you discover you want to reach  being an elder.

Not just getting old but stepping into your wisdom and being a compassionate and a kind guide on earth.

To be able to support those who ask you for help and to show up and be helpful to those people as an  elder.   Make it  your  intention  every day, to aspire to that. It is a subtle thing compared to the things that you thought about  in your twenties, thirties, and forties.  It may not be exciting for people to hear about but its real.

Auntie Marie overcame drinking and inspired others

You get to have a  real contentment. It means to be truly at peace within your own skin  and to be at  peace spiritually. 

Some people have success renewing their cultural ceremonies, as my Aunt Marie did. The triggers all but diminish. You get to experience a depth of emotion sadness, happiness, contentment  and to challenge all of it . A full range of human emotions you get to have deeper relationships with people  in your life.  How does that sound?   Incredible right? And It is achievable.

The truth is I have never had an addiction.   So why would you listen to what I have to say on the subject?   

I challenge you to consider if what you’re doing isn’t working, it might help to change your perspective and consider a new way to reach your sobriety goal. You don’t have to do it because I say so. However, I invite you to try.  I  may have never experienced addiction to substances, but I do have some practical experience in addictions.

First, I’ve spent  decades on the Board of Directors, first as Vice Chair and then Chairperson of an institution that looked at supporting addictions and First Nations people in recovery. I have been on teams developing curriculum to address addictions. 

Secondly, some members of my family struggle to get sober,  and to enjoy their life.  It is a challenge. I know this because I’ve witness them struggling, falling off the wagon  and getting back on the wagon repeatedly. But most importantly, I am a compassionate  and empathetic person. I hope that I have  conveyed here resonates with some of you  and gives you hope. No matter how many times you try keep trying because you are worth it and you are loved.

At the same time, I ask myself, do I really appreciate this struggle? How can I when I have never experienced addiction. 

What I know, I  know from watching some members of my family struggle. I know it is a real struggle and that no one chooses to be  an addict. Yes, there are facilities and support systems available to help. However, sometimes a person is just not ready to ask for  help. It doesn’t mean they want to remain an addict. But the decision has to be theirs  to embark on this self-discovery of love. You can enjoy life and friends without relying on altering substances.

My brother Rossi battled his demons until it took him. But my sister, Mary had success taming her demons. And she helps members of the family when they ask for help.

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