2013 – Another Year of Change

Happy Sunday, friends, family and followers!

It's been a month or so since I've published a blog post, though I've been sharing some fun stuff on Facebook for Recovery Month. September, National Recovery Month, is my favorite month. Recovery, the scenery, the cool air, and the beginning of holidays that are built around gratitude and sharing!

My last post, One Year In, covered the second year of my recovery, 2012, where recovery and the peace that's available became somewhat of a normalcy in life, something not many who struggle with addiction can imagine.

2013 began to unfold similarly to 2012, with recovery and stability filling my life. A couple months in, however, I began to look for a new place to live. I had lived in the apartment I was in for over a year, and the amount of traffic and loud happenings above and around me drove me to find a new place. I worked at a group home with a lady who happened to have the lower level of her house opening up, as another coworker was moving out. The place was peaceful, quiet, and had space to be added, if I was willing to put in some work. I moved into the new place in April and began to add on to the unit and settle in.

In May, I suffered a bad knee injury during a softball tournament. I ended up in urgent care, and because of swelling, I would have to wait for any imaging. The doctor prescribed me Vicodin and sent me on my way. That evening was terrifying to me. Vicodin, an opiate that I had used in my addiction, was in my hands. I called my sponsor and his wife and updated them. I went to their house with the meds, and requested that if I had to take any, they hold the prescription.

Prescription medication in recovery has always been a debatable and blurry topic. Some refuse it. Some think nothing of it. I was somewhere in the middle. I did not want to ruin my recovery. I was also in what I would consider extreme pain. I couldn't sleep and couldn't find a comfortable position, no matter how hard I tried. I also knew I always liked the effects of prescriptions, or any drug for that matter. I took what I needed to. Thankfully, all the concern, guilt and shame that I felt thinking about that prescription would mostly mask any positive, addiction driven psychological effect I could have.

Within the week, I'd stop taking those meds, and soon began to feel the very real effects of opiate withdrawal again, though likely more psychological than anything. This time, I wouldn't have something else to turn to, to relieve that feeling. In active addiction, turning to other drugs and alcohol was always the solution to those feelings. Not this time. I suffered, mostly mentally, with the thought of having chemicals in my body, something I fought so hard against for the previous two and a half years.

The pills would go away, but the problem with my knee didn't. It required surgery, something I'd never had before. Thankfully, it was outpatient and I'd be back to normal life within weeks. Later that summer, I opted for surgery on my other knee, the one that gave me much longer lasting problems. That one wouldn't get better, though, only worse.

In the fall of 2013, I began another part-time job, tutoring students in classes I had taken. Though the pay was not good, I realized quickly how much I loved helping people learn. For that reason, I declared education as my major. Because I couldn't decide on a specific subject, I opted for elementary education, a more generic degree that would allow me to teach any subjects.

As fall came around, I realized the association I began to have with that time of year. Two years prior to that, in 2011, had me in really tough shape, looking for my own place, and eventually beginning a brand new way of living and feeling. Almost opposite from the cycle of nature, my changing and rebirth of sorts came then. I loved fall then, love fall now, and will always love fall. The colors. The exploring. The crisp air. The bonfires with sweatshirts. The hot cocoa and coffee. And the holidays to come!

These holidays would be different, including my first major experience of charity. Something I'll never forget. Something I'll never stop. Charity was and is a life saver.

Until next time, stay well!

J

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