When I finally decided to go to my first recovery meeting I thought my life would be over. I can’t begin to describe how wrong I was…

I’d finally hit bottom and realised I needed help. I had to stop drinking and using, that much was clear, but what kind of life would be left for me?

My whole life revolved around drinking and using. What was the point if I had to do it without the one thing which gave me some sense of comfort, joy and escape? Before I came into recovery I thought It would be an utterly miserable existence. Here I am nearly four years later to tell you just how wrong I was. This is not the end. Far from it. It’s just the beginning…

I can’t begin to describe all the ways my life has changed since I decided to get clean and sober. I have a big life today. I’ve rebuilt relationships with my friends and family. Relationships I thought I’d never be able to have back in my life. I’ve gained an understanding of myself thanks to the reflection we do as part of working the 12 steps. I continue to grow and learn more about myself, something which is incredibly rewarding but also fucking brutal at certain times too.

I have real relationships with people. I can relate to people, I have a group of friends I can open-up to, I feel a sense of connection with the world which I had never experienced before. I no longer feel alone, isolated or lonely. I have a loving partner and most importantly I feel like I know myself.

After years of drinking and using, during which time I wanted to be seen but was always afraid of people seeing the real me, the life I have today is completely liberating.

The work within the twelves steps, the guiding principles which I try to live by (nowhere near perfectly obviously) of honesty, faith, love, tolerance have completely changed my outlook on life,

I have a strong sense of faith and purpose, and I’ve learned to build my self-esteem from within thanks to service and esteemable acts which are encouraged in recovery.

I used to be selfish because I thought it would get me further in life, but the reality has been thinking of and helping others has given me a much bigger life than I thought possible.

All of this as well as the fact that my life is no longer in chaos, I don’t have to look over my shoulder, worry about the things I’ve said or done to people, worry about my horrendous financial state or be overcome with the deep isolation, fear and dread which used to come with being an active alcoholic and addict.

My life isn’t perfect, and I can (and often do) make mistakes, but I have a lot to be grateful for.

My life keeps getting bigger in different ways, I stay connected to myself and the world around me, and I’m excited to see how I continue to grow as a person. All of this is on-top of the fact that I don’t have to drink or use today, the obsession has gone, I’m free today and it’s all thanks to recovery and the 12 steps.

If you’re new or struggling, or worrying about losing the only good thing in your life, please take it from someone who’s been there before, just as you are now… this is definitely not the end.