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OliveH’s Story

When I first joined SMART Recovery 7 months ago, sobriety was a completely foreign concept to me. I had been drinking for 20 years, and it was all I knew. I built myself a cage out of rationalizations, justifications, and excuses. I made myself very cozy in my cage, but it was a cage nonetheless. I saw no way out.

I started using the tools — at first just Stop Thought, DISARM, and the CBA. With these tools, meetings, and the support of the community here, I got through one weekend, then another, then another. My strength grew with each success.

After awhile I felt ready for the ABC. Tool Time was invaluable for understanding this. I discovered that by using the ABC to deal with frustrations and disappointments, I was able to reduce the stress that might lead to using. I called this ‘back-dooring’ urges. I felt I was really getting a handle on the tools.

I also threw myself into my VACIs, and other activities. My house had never been so clean! It was when I started looking at goals and values that the light bulb really went on. I realized there were things I wanted to do with my life other than drink, and sobriety gave me the strength to do them. The scales tipped, and I realized I was stronger than my addiction. That cage had never been locked. I could have grabbed the handle and opened the door at any time!

The freedom and strength I feel now is amazing. Sure, I miss drinking, but it is no longer part of me. Now I have the freedom to go get coffee in the morning without the shakes, freedom to counsel my students without feeling like a hypocrite, the freedom of knowing the world has opened up to me and I can choose my own path. I never could have done this without the tools, the meetings, and the unwavering support of the incredible community here. I love you all!

With strength comes freedom, and with freedom, finally, comes peace.