June 1991, I arrived at Turning Pont of Tampa with one suitcase in hand after spending 30 days at Father Martin’s Ashley. My heart was heavy; I was scared, frightened, feeling so hopeless and alone, feelings I am sure so many of you had walking through these doors. Twenty-three years later I am blessed to be working at Turning Point of Tampa where my journey in recovery began. As an alumna, it is such a gift to be able to give back in a place where so much was given to me.
As I celebrate my 23-year AA anniversary, I look back and reflect on what life was like in early recovery. So often in early recovery we feel so lost, alone, unsure of the direction our lives are going, anxious and fearful about the future, and I was all of that and more! There have been many changes in my life during my recovery, but the Steps, Traditions, and the rooms of AA have kept me close to a Higher Power who always brought me back to the basics.
No matter what I have gone through, one or more of the following have kept me on track: Staying in the moment. Praying for guidance and direction (and then following it). Don’t drink, and go to meetings. You can start your day over any time. Call your sponsor. Get on your knees. Give thanks daily. I am powerless over my addiction, people, places and things. Get phone numbers (and use them). First things first. Think, think, think. One day at a time.
While a client at Turning Point of Tampa, I was taught a personally powerful phrase which has aided me during many “challenging” moments in my sobriety: “Sometimes making healthy choices doesn’t always feel good.” As an addict, I always went for the “feel good” solution, and today many of my choices don’t always feel good but I know they are the “healthy choices.” Many of you who participated in my groups have heard this many times, but for those of you who have not: What a gift it is to each of us to have had the opportunity to put our “outside lives” on hold while we focus on our “inside lives” and learn to live life on life’s terms without using drugs, alcohol or food to medicate.”
How grateful I am that Turning Point of Tampa was here for me 23 years ago, is here for each of you now, and with prayers and support will continue to be here for those still struggling with the disease of addiction.