By Evan Moriarty
Transcend New York Assistant Program Director
What realizations lead me to seek recovery:
While at a 12-step spiritual retreat following detox, I began to understand in fits and starts–and only by listening to the experience of others–that my sobriety depended on my willingness to seek a spiritual orientation towards myself and others. After years of thinking that I just needed to get a grip on myself, the novelty and power of this approach was compelling (and intimidating).
What I lost in my addiction:
I lost my sense of self–or more accurately, I became unable to move my sense of self beyond the one I maintained before my drinking and drug use consumed me. I lost the opportunity to develop as a person, as well as the ability to notice this happening.
What worked for me:
Dedicating myself almost entirely to concrete step work was immensely helpful to me early on. If I was going to live differently, I needed to take the action required to become different. After leaving the spiritual retreat, where I completed my fourth step, I wrote daily 10th step inventory and began making amends.
What I learned about myself:
I’ve learned that my past–painful as it was and meaningless as it seemed–provided me with the opportunity to find the purposefulness recovery has brought to my life.
As I was moving out of sober living, the staff there asked me to return each week and take the newest clients to meetings, initiating a new component in their programming.
What I value most in recovery:
Today I value the genuine and loving relationships I’ve been able to develop with my friends, family, and partner. The opportunity to live outside the limits of my own mind has provided me with a new freedom.
Advice to my younger self:
Spend less energy crafting and clinging to a specific image of yourself.
Best advice for newbies:
Enjoy your recovery as much as possible. Try to find a way to understand sobriety as an offering rather than a deprivation.
A goal I have for the future:
Hike Mt. Washington in the Winter.