Happy Sunday, everyone!
In my previous post, The Day the Fight Ended, I shared about the experience of relief from what we in recovery call a mental obsession to drugs and alcohol. I know today that there is little chance of ever experiencing a meaningful life if that obsession isn't removed. As long as it exists, the use or thought of drugs and alcohol are at the center of every day. Once removed, though, a real chance at making progress in life and the journey of serving our world arises. And so it was with me...
I came to my first year of sobriety, knowing I had something that could last forever. I celebrated that 1 year at a recovery night that included my family and friends, even my grandpa, who never stayed out late if it wasn't at the American Legion. Something felt different. And it was.
As I began to settle into a new life, including school and the first holiday season sober, I stayed very involved in recovery and in helping those I could. I became a recovery sponsor, helped lead meetings, and spoke a few times, where I could. I finally felt like I had something to offer.
As school continued on and 2012 began, I realized I had time and energy for a job, and also needed to make some money. I began applying at different places. Over time, I would apply at Kwik Trip, Wal-Mart, Kohl's, Target, the Nike Outlet store, and any other place I could think of. It was not an easy process. Most of those places didn't even bother with an interview. I remember calling Kwik Trip to follow up on my application, only to hear, "Sorry, Mr. Lennox, you just don't have what we're looking for right now." It was defeating to hear that, or something similar to that, so many times. But something in me kept saying - it's your loss, I will make a difference someday, wherever I end up.
That spring, I landed a job cutting grass at the country club, as I had a couple friends in recovery working there. Finally. Though the pay wasn't much more than minimum wage, the scenery was beautiful, the company of coworkers fun, and the serenity of each morning worth it. Later on that year, I landed another job, this time working in a group home, caring for elderly adults with developmental disabilities. Yes, back to the very profession and job I last saw in addiction, where my life almost ended. How bittersweet it was.
When I lost my job working in a group home, due to the overdose onsite, I was crushed. As much as life had been meaningless, that job gave me something to live for. To help others. To contribute to life for those who needed it most. Getting back into that field brought me back. I realized, more than ever, that helping those in need was what would keep me well.
Between the country club, the group home, school and recovery, 2012 was fulfilling, busy and peaceful. I began to understand what "normal" people experienced in life - work, play, rest, and a level of satisfaction. I had never really experienced that in life. Not in all 24 years. I had always been plagued with an unrest, feeling empty and sad, and feeling like there was always something missing. No wonder drugs and alcohol were so attractive all those years.
There was life at last. A reason to hope for the future, and enjoy the present. That didn't change the difficulty of addiction and recovery. Those two are forever, and the horrors and realities had to be fought, for all the years to come. 2012 was a year of happiness and a new normal. The beginning of what felt like it could be a lifetime of such.
A lifetime. That's what it takes to continue on in and with recovery. That's what it'll be for me. A lifetime.
Until next time,