How Peter Learned to Let Go in Recovery

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Hey all! I have about twenty-one months of not drinking and sixteen months of solid sobriety. After I left Mountainside, my life was in turmoil. I was trying to regain my daughters’ trust, faced a divorce from my wife, was not living with my family, and wanted to sell the family house. We managed to sell the house, and the relationships with my daughters have been improving. Things had been looking up.

I started listening in AA, participating more in meetings, and growing up. I listen to many podcasts in between meetings, one, in particular, is Gary K’s Sober Speak. The one thing he says that really resonates with me is, “Alcohol doesn’t cause alcoholism, it fixes it.” When I keep my thoughts to myself, I tend to ruminate. I convince myself that I don’t deserve to feel good. That I don’t deserve good things nor good people in my life.

From my teens into my early twenties, pot numbed the pains in my life. If you ask me, I didn’t have a good childhood. My mother and brother have different thoughts on that. But what I have learned is that they are not me. I am me, and my thoughts are mine to do with as I please. I used to get high and drunk to not feel those thoughts, but now embrace them and set them free. I have learned to use my voice, not hide behind it. My thoughts have meaning, and my experiences help others.

What does my life look like today? I am getting divorced – that, I can accept. My daughters are a huge part of my life. I can communicate with my estranged wife. I attend four meetings a week. I have a coffee commitment on Mondays. I am chairing my Wednesday night 12-step meeting. I regularly attend Mountainside’s Friday Night Open Meeting and the Sunday Alumni Dinner & Meeting. I have shared many times. I like going back to meetings at Mountainside because they keep me grounded and remind me of where my journey of sobriety began. The people there are amazing. I still keep in touch with friends I made while in residential treatment and even some of the staff members.

Recently, our world has been turned upside down with the onset of the pandemic. Churches are closed and meetings have taken on a new life — a new format, digital. Zoom is booming with meetings. Facebook groups are growing. We are figuring out how to stay connected from home. Life is changing daily, which would have annoyed and aggravated me in the past, but now, doesn’t bother me. For some reason, toilet paper is a hot commodity and flying off the shelves. Food shelves are also bare. But I’m not panicked about it. I have learned to let go. I say the Serenity Prayer as I need to, and it brings peace to my brain and soul. I’m sharing produce with a neighbor in exchange for a loaf of freshly baked bread. I’m learning to trust, and am realizing that there are good people out there. I’m trying to be a good person, doing what I can — helping the elderly person in the grocery store that cannot reach the top shelf, or simply giving a kind smile.

Life is meant to be lived on simple terms. Letting go of trying to control it has given me the gift of living. I am not going to say that I’m living a life beyond my wildest dreams, but I have a life filled with experiences that I now remember, and friendships I can count on. I’m now also someone others can count on. I can now have a relationship with a special person and know it is coming from a place of honesty. Life is ever-evolving, changing, and getting better. With honesty and some work, life is good.

Peace and serenity, my friends,

– Peter

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