We held an essay contest asking those currently working through recovery what it means to them. Below are the contest winner and runner up’s essays, kept anonymous for their privacy.

What Does Recovery Mean to Me? – Contest Winner

Recovery from addiction is possible.

To me recovery means to transform to a normal state of health, mind, and strength. In this process there are several stages one must go through.

The first step in recovery is to make a personal decision that I am powerless over drugs or alcohol and that my life has become unmanageable. When I made this decision, the next thing that occurred is withdrawals.

Withdrawal is what held me in bondage to drugs for so long.

Then, when the initial withdrawals come to an end, we enter into the phase of post-acute withdrawal syndrome. Studies show that this stage can last for up to two years. During this stage is when we need to figure out our triggers or the reasons we continually go back to the same people, places, and things.

For myself relapse occurs because even though I might go through a program, I still go back to the same people, places, and things. A lot of times when I do go back to those things it’s from boredom or isolation.

There are several steps we must take in recovery and they are pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. The ultimate goal is to have a plan that we put into action and then maintain this plan to keep our sobriety.

I feel that recovery is the opportunity to restore my life to a better state. To do this is imperative that we look diligently at our attitude. When our attitude changes so will our behavior and when our behavior changes so will our outcomes and consequences.

Through the hard times and the good times we must always remember that our recovery is the most important factor in our life. Without recovery my life crumbles. The most important thing in my recovery is keeping a close relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Without him I am nothing. This is what recovery means to me.

What Does Recovery Mean To Me? – Runner Up

Stories of addiction recovery.

It’s a process that starts with admitting I have no power over my addiction. That I am willing and wanting help. I decided what kind of help I needed, I studied on it, looked around for what types of rehab there are.

Then made a choice and made that first step. I started off slowly working at it. As I started the rehab and going through the steps, I started seeing where it was working in the area of my addiction.

And when life started going wrong, I realized I was not by myself. There are others with the same problems that I have. With the counselors, staff, and fellow clients help I have begun to look at life with a different outlook.

Even after rehab it’s still going to be something I will have to work on every day. Through AA meetings, finding a sponsor, and staying away from negative crowds. But being sober is so much worth it.

I want a life with a big smile, not a frown. Happy times with family without the monkey on my back. In the end it will all be worth it. Where there is peace of mind and knowing life is better not letting that addiction control my life.

With the love of God, praying, and taking one day at a time. It is possible.

We’ll continue to share all of the amazing essays we received during the contest. We invite you to share your story of recovery to help inspire others on their path!