Utterly defeated by my addiction to alcohol, I surrendered and admitted myself into detox. My journey in recovery all started at a treatment center where I was assigned an amazing therapist. Based on our initial therapy session he developed an individualized treatment plan. He listed out my objectives, which involved numerous writing assignments and participation in certain activities. Some of the assignments felt like dreaded homework, including the typical “I will write a list of 30 consequences of my addiction,” “I will write a timeline history of my life,” and “I will create a blueprint of my next relapse.”
Addiction Treatment Assignment
Out of all the assignments I completed there was one I truly enjoyed. Acknowledging that I am an artist, my therapist gave me a visual and creative assignment. I was asked to draw a picture of what my life looks like in active addiction. The drawing itself is fairly simple, but the process of sketching the image and writing out my insights was very healing. I started the drawing by thinking about how I felt in active addiction. I’m sure most would agree it is a very dark and lonely place. I was a prisoner in despair floating in nowhere land. This would be the focal point of the drawing, positioned directly in the center.
I then started sketching out all the things that make me happy. I knew they were still there while I was drinking, I just couldn’t get to them. Of course, my family and friends came to mind. Most of them still wanted me in their life, but all I wanted was to be alone. Being as irritable as I was, perhaps I was also protecting them from myself. They didn’t deserve to be around such a miserable person. I know my addiction affected my family and I’m very grateful they stood by my side through it all.
I also thought about all the songwriting and painting I used to do. I am a highly creative person and when I’m producing art I feel at peace. Using my imagination brings me outside the day-to-day world and into a place of complete freedom. These creative outlets make me feel alive and soulful.
Anger, Addiction and Family
Most of all I was missing out on all the love I used to have in my life. In active addiction I felt angry at all the things I loved because they were so distant. My heart was full of hate. I hated the fact that I couldn’t be the artist I knew I was. I hated the fact that I couldn’t be the sister I used to be. I was missing out on being an Aunt for the first time and hadn’t even held my little niece yet. I was missing out on visiting my Mom and creating pottery with her. I was missing out on a social life and opportunities to meet new people. I couldn’t paint, write another song, or spend time with family and friends. It was a very sad and frustrating place to be.
Living the Sober Life
Today I am living a sober life. Looking at this drawing reminds me of the misery I was in, motivating me to continue my journey in recovery. Through this journey I have reconnected with my higher self, simply by listening. I now live the life I’ve imagined, full of all the things I love. I’m very grateful for my experience in treatment and the assignments my therapist established for me. I have been released from the darkness, free of my addiction, living a fulfilling and beautiful life without alcohol.
About the Writer
Our guest writer is an Outreach Specialist for Recovery Local. She advocates long-term sobriety by working with websites like YourFirstStep.org; a useful resource for those struggling with addiction and substance abuse related disorders. As a recovering alcoholic herself, she is very passionate about spreading awareness and shedding light on the disease of addiction.