Reward Of Recovery - 3 years later

September 28, 2001

I've just celebrated 4 years in recovery. As I look back and read my initial one year anniversary letter, I see now that I had simply uncovered the tip of the iceberg. I'd established a foundation. What followed has been truly miraculous. I am living life, one day at a time in serenity and joy. If it weren't for CoDA, I wouldn't be in the truly wonderful place I am now. 

The first year I spent recovering from my divorce. The second year I did the steps again but with a focus on the inner child. This was some especially intense work that was accomplished with the aid of a doctor of psychology. I was able to recognize that I had abandonment issues. I was able to finally accept that my mother is an alcoholic and that I could hold her accountable for not being the mother I needed. And then I found the beauty in letting go. Where once I would have blamed her I found I could accept her as she is. It took time. I saw that I was destined to be enabling someone until I had done this work. I understood better than ever where I came from and why I had made some of the choices I did. 

In second grade I got my first pair of glasses. As a result, I was teased by the kids in the neighborhood, some mercilessly. One boy was especially mean. When I went home crying to my mother and told her what happened, she responded "Ann, what's the matter with you? Why do you listen to him? You're smarter than he is!". Those words hurt me deeply. I felt there was something wrong with me and that I should not bring my problems home. 

Of course, now I know there is nothing wrong with me. I value myself and treat myself with respect as well as others. I have learned that nobody should speak to another in a demeaning manor. I also went back to school and last month completed a bachelors 
degree 23 years after I started college. 

The greatest gift from the program has been achieving peace and serenity. This came partly from finally understanding how to accept and let go but not be taken advantage of. I can and do stick up for myself but no longer get emotional and make injustices a personal mission. Another gift has been gratitude. I have learned to be grateful for marrying an alcoholic, for losing a child, for all the pain and suffering. I know that this was my destiny and I wouldn't be where I am now had I not lived through those events.

And where am I? Well, as I wrote my one year anniversary letter I had just met my partner. The first year of the relationship was hard as I was doing my family of origin work but he is a kind and compassionate person. We are now sharing our lives together and I am overwhelmed at how good it is! There are some areas of our relationship that are tough. Financial issues seem to be a real problem and I suspect it is because I still get emotional when it comes to money. But we are still working through it and have recently made some headway. It is work but worthwhile. I have truly never been happier in my life.

There is no recipe to success in recovery. There is no secret. It just takes time and we all recover at our own pace. I pray every day and give thanks every day for the life I have been given. I even thank my higher power for the bad stuff because at least I am alive to feel it. I am especially grateful to have wonderful relationships with my parents, my partner, my siblings and a few recovery old-timers. I look forward to each day, accept my past and hope that others, especially the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, can find the peace and serenity that I have. I am truly blessed.

Ann M.