Recovery, by any means necessary

I am a mother, daughter, sister, niece, aunt, and a proud living example that recovery from addiction is possible. My name is Tania, and I am grateful to be in recovery from alcoholism.

Only 11 short years ago, I was too ill to hold a job, or have any meaningful relationships in my life. My family was exhausted from trying to save me, and dying a little more each day themselves with worry and fear for what would come next.

I remember my first 12-step meeting. I walked in, looked around, and quickly left, as I was filled with fear and anxiety. When I arrived home, I told my family it was a “cult” and not for me. Little did I know, this “cult” would become my lifeline in early sobriety, and the courageous members would teach me how to live a life without having to escape and numb myself with copious amounts of alcohol.

I attempted outpatient counselling and therapy before checking myself into my first treatment centre in 2008. I had a wonderful experience, met incredible people, and still have fond memories and connections. After a very short time back at home (72 hours), I relapsed, and remained in active addiction until my second treatment stay in 2009.

This time was different, as my illness had progressed to the point that if I didn’t remain sober, I was likely to die. My family also changed. Their unconditional love and support (a.k.a. enabling) continued but along the way, they picked up some boundary setting skills, and started to lovingly detach in order
to protect themselves from my further harms.

Although I didn’t remain sober right out of treatment and relapsed a few times, I continually got back on track and kept trying by listening and working with my supports, and becoming an active member in the recovery community.

My journey hasn’t been without struggles; I lost my dad, my sister, and recently my furry best friend, but I also married off my daughter, acquired an amazing son-in-law, supported my mom during the loss of her daughter, and have been present to support my family in any way that I can. I am also a GREAT friend and do what I say I will do. I give back to the recovery community, and look for ways that I can share hope with people who are struggling. I have a job that I love, and what they say is true: find a job you love and you’ll never work a day again!

For me, there are many paths to recovery, and I believe that people should make the choices that work for them. Some choose abstinence, some choose alternate substances, some choose the 12 steps and some people say “screw it” — whatever people decide is part of their journey. I also believe and advocate for harm-reduction, needle exchange, abstinence, safe injection sites, opiate replacement therapies, safe drug supply, and treatment over incarceration because addiction is complex and no one approach is right for everyone.

Today, I am sober, happy, healthy, productive, and content (most of the time). My life is better today than I could have ever imagined and I owe it all to recovery.

For those struggling, know that if I can do it, you can do it too!
Happy Recovery Month Warriors!

About the Authors

Contributors to Renascent’s Blog share their stories of addiction and recovery and/or their professional expertise.