“My mind’s got a mind of its own
It takes me out a-walkin’ when I’d rather stay at home
Takes me out to parties when I’d rather be alone
My minds got a mind of its own”
These are the opening lyrics of a song written by Butch Hancock and originally performed by Jimmie Dale Gilmore. These words ring true for me being a person who suffered in the grips of addiction for the better part of a decade. Before I began my journey of recovery, I didn’t recognize the person I saw looking back at me in the mirror. It appeared my decisions were no longer of my own making. Something else had been calling the shots. Many promises were made to myself that I would not continue these behaviors that were hurting everyone who cared for me but day in and day out each promise was broken. The semblance of control I thought I had when I began using drugs was now a flicker of light in a distant galaxy.
In order to begin the process of recovery, I was in dire need of a change of mind. My thoughts were infected, and it was my understanding that in order to change my thoughts, the actions had to change first, and the thoughts would follow suit. Five years later I am content with the person I see looking back at me. It has not been an easy process but the help I accepted at Turning Point of Tampa laid the foundation for what was to come. Each day in recovery has not been perfect, but I received the tools to handle each situation as it cropped up. One of the most important lessons I learned was that I no longer have to tackle any problem alone. I was incapable of solving my addiction problem on my own, but by finally being ready to ask for help the light started to show through the cracks. I have finally accepted my role in society; to lift those up around me rather than tear them down.
I have always responded well to positive reinforcement. The words “I appreciate your hard work” or “I am proud of you” are admirable. Each opportunity I get to say these things to a loved one or family member where it has been earned, I cherish. Comparably the emotions I used to evoke in my loved ones were most often fear and worry. It brings me much joy that those times are in the past. My parents sleep easy knowing that my life is rich and full. The change I have experienced was necessary for me to continue to live. I believe I have been gifted a new life and I am forever grateful. Each day has been better than the last by continuing to live my life by the spiritual principles of honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness to name a few. We do recover.