I thought the first year would be the hardest to deal with in recovery. The initial admission to myself that I had a problem, the desperation, going to my first AA meeting and the state of constant headspin that comes with early sobriety. All I can say is I was very wrong, with some clean and sober time I’m now going through a period of growth which comes with it’s own pain, here’s my experience…

There were some noticeable periods of growth in my early recovery, feelings coming back to me after years of suppressing them and making amends during Step 9 as part of my AA programme. After this and working through the twelve steps, I’m now noticing some other challenges in my life:

Trauma & emotions – I had to speak to my therapist about some grief which I had started to experience. This was repressed from my past and was only now start to coming to the surface after years of pushing it down through drinking and drugging.

Finding my own programme of recovery – I personally have found AA and working a 12 step programme to work for me. It’s not for everyone, but it’s keeping me sober and helping me to live a fuller life. Everyone’s journey is different and after a year of working a fairly strict programme of recovery I’ve now been looking into what my own recovery programme looks like moving forward. Having the confidence to explore my own programme and new meetings has been at the expense of spending time with the people and in the meetings which have been important to me in the my early recovery. This has been anxiety inducing at times, but it’s all in the name of finding out what is going to work for me long-term in this journey.

The ‘real’ me – Over time I’m starting to learn more about myself which is only possible with a clear head and with honesty. I’m starting to get back in touch with my inner-self and realise what’s really important to me, what drives me and what kind of future I want for myself. I was always projecting an image to the outside world about my life due to self-confidence issues and low self-worth, getting back in touch with myself and realising the ways in which I’ve led a dishonest life at the expense of myself have been hard things to come to terms with.

Life – Last but not least, life itself. We get sober so we can start living. It’s not always sparkles and sunshine. Life was never meant to be easy and its full of challenges for us. These challenges can really test us at times, but It’s good to finally be able to deal with everything life throws at me with a clear head.

All of these things have caused me some pain in my second year of recovery, and in many ways has made this year harder than the first. Despite that, ultimately it’s all positive because this is where the growth happens. I’m finally dealing with life, with problems and experiencing growth head-on instead of living a life of fear.