Recovery is not all sunshine and rainbows. You know that saying that it feels like you’re taking one step forward and two steps back? I feel like this is an excellent way to describe the feeling you have at the beginning of your journey into recovery. For the majority of us who have spent years in active addiction we also managed to leave a trail of destruction behind us the entire way. So what this basically means is that when we do decide to finally get clean it also means that we now have to turn around finally to begin facing that trail of destruction we left.
The type of consequences we face in early recovery can vary greatly, including damaged relationships, materialistic items, time that we can never get back, missed opportunities, criminal, and etc. This list may seem like it just continues to grow and very quickly becomes overwhelming. However this is a key role in your journey, learning to accept responsibility for your actions no matter how horrible the consequence may seem.
When I first got clean I had to deal with criminal consequences. I had charges I had to face and time I had to serve. I was on parole for the first three years of my recovery. To this day I am still paying my legal fines from my past actions as I owed thousands of dollars for decisions I made while high. For me part of the reason it took so long to get clean was the fear of having to face all the terrible things I had done but while I let that fear control me for so long I just continued digging my hole even deeper.
As my years in recovery continued to grow I still had to face various consequences for my actions. I have 3 children, I was in active addiction up until my oldest was about to turn 5 and my son was 2. My third child never had to go through my active addiction with me. I have several pictures of my youngest from birth. My two older children have asked to see their baby pictures, or want to know when they started walking and talking.
The harsh reality is that I don’t have baby pictures of them because they were lost every time our house was raided and I’d get arrested. As for remembering all of their firsts I can remember some things but a lot of it is blurred because I was so high or locked up. Now for me that is time I can’t get back. There is no reason for me to focus on the past because that is simply something I cannot change. So how do you face consequences like these?
You make a living amends. From the moment I walked into recovery I have taken thousands of pictures of my children. I try to mark every special occasion and strive everyday to be the best mother I can be. Now while I am far from perfect I continue to work on accepting responsibility for my actions everyday. Though it may feel like you are taking one step forward and two steps back in recovery you will gain support and tools to help you process the consequences that you face.
As you begin to not only face but move past these consequences it will feel like such an enormous weight has been lifted off of you. Try to focus on all the good going on in other parts of your life when these consequences come up because if your in recovery as bad as things may seem at times I can promise you this you have a lot to be grateful for in that same moment even if it is simply the fact that you can say for today you got through it clean!!! Remember you can always reach out to a recovery coach for help.