“You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards” Steve Jobs
It’s easy to sit back and reflect on the circumstances of your life and be grateful when everything pans out for the best. The difficulty lies in going through those difficult times and have peace. Serenity is attainable, but only based on a mindset. I’ve been through recovery for a number of years now and I often find myself in a place of reflection. Reflecting on those times when recovery was hard. When it felt like a losing battle. When it felt like all the acting out that I was doing would never change. I can sit here and deliver large amounts of personal experience on what it’s like to feel like to be on a roller coaster with no seatbelts, both inside and outside of recovery. The difficulty lies in relaying the solution. The solution is where recovery lies.
Being a youth in recovery can be lonely. It can be hard to come into the program and look around and only see older people. It can be hard to commit to attending meetings when all your friends and people your age get to go out and party. As a person who cleaned up young I struggled with these things. I cleaned up when I was twenty, two weeks before my twenty-first birthday. It was apparent to me that I could never use normally again. What I wasn’t prepared for was the loneliness I would feel. I was very fortunate to be taken under the wing of some members with substantial clean-time. That’s the beauty of cleaning up at a young age and being surrounded by individuals who have experienced life. You get the benefit of their lived experience. I was gifted with mentors who cared enough about me and my recovery that they supported me.
One thing that came with growing up in the rooms is also growing up in life. Maturity was something new to me, especially emotional maturity. I made plenty of mistakes in my first few years of recovery, acting out, getting into unhealthy relationships, overspending, and lacking commitment. I got to experience all of it. That was a blessing, because each experience brought growth and light to my life.
Today I am surrounded by people who I see as mentors. Mentors in my career, in life, and in recovery. Each day, I continue to grow. I turn twenty-eight years old and will be seven years clean in a month. I have a blessed life. I couldn’t see it when I cleaned up but upon reflection I can see how much was given to me in these last years. I recently got married, I bought my first car, my family has me in their life, I am an uncle and an honorary uncle, and I have an amazing career.
I was angry when I came in because addiction, mine and others, took from me my childhood. However, Recovery gave me my youth. Recovery gave me a chance. I am grateful every day when I wake up that I have this life and that I have it clean.