I am often asked by people new to recovery, why I stay clean, which is a very good question! When my best friend and business partner at The Recovery Connection, Julie Funkhouser, is asked why she stays clean and continues to work a program of recovery, her answer is always the same. Julie always responds with “I stay clean because of the meaningful relationships that I have built over the past ten years in recovery.” I would have to agree with Julie that the connections that I have made over the years are my greatest gifts of being in recovery.
In March of 2009, I gave up the drugs and started my journey in recovery. I entered into a program of recovery without having the proper tools to build or maintain relationships with others. Drugs, alcohol and the disease of addiction robbed me of the ability to have healthy relationships with anyone for many, many years. I did not know how to be a daughter, how to be a friend, or how to be in a healthy relationship. For so many years the drugs determined every decision that I made. Today, that is simply not the case, and the connections that I have learned how to build and more importantly how to maintain in recovery, have kept me alive and saved me from a lot of very stupid mistakes.
Johann Hari, author of Chasing the Scream and presenter of a Ted talk, Everything You Know About Addiction Is Wrong, says something incredibly profound. Hari says, “The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection.” Humans crave connections with others. When I was 27 years old and attempting to stay clean and find a life worth living, I just wanted to be respected, loved, and cared for by others.
I have found connections with so many as a result of my journey in recovery. Today I have a relationship with my parents, my sister, my husband, my daughter, my aunts, my uncles, my cousins, my nephew, my friends, my pastor, my local community and most importantly, with God. Recovery has given me a life worth living. With the help of some awesome people, I have utilized the necessary tools to build and sustain healthy relationships or connections with others. I am a loyal wife, a committed mother, and am willing to help any person that struggles with the disease of addiction and desires a new way to live.
At The Recovery Connection, we support and honor all pathways to recovery. At the same time, we also believe that whatever pathway a person chooses, healthy connections must be built and maintained to be able to sustain a life worth living. Human connection is essential in a process of recovery. I am forever grateful for the people in my life who have showed up for me through the good, the bad and the ugly. The connections that I have made over the past ten years have made me the woman that I am today and remind me that I am not alone.
Written by Meredith Speir , Co-Founder & COO of The Recovery Connection