For many, January signifies the start of something new: a new year, new resolutions, a new start. Many people make resolutions hoping to meet personal goals or to improve their quality of life. New Year’s resolutions are also reminiscent of the commitment we make to recovery. The first step we take in recovery is a step toward a new start.
The following are reflections on new starts in recovery from Cumberland Heights’ staff members:
A life in recovery from drugs and alcohol is a wonderful life with many new beginnings. A few of the many gifts I’ve received have been, stronger and deeper relationships with friends and family, a new way of living life with peace and serenity, and a greater understanding and love for myself and others. ~ John Boolos (Case Manager, Men’s Department)
For me “New Start” has meant opportunity, and new found hope. A “New Start” has afforded me the opportunity to be the son, friend, brother, uncle and peer I feel I was meant to be. In active addiction I was far from the person I feel I was meant to be, but I felt completely hopeless. An overwhelming fear I had lost my authentic self, someone not only my family and friends missed, but I did as well. A new beginning filled me with the hope the real me was not gone, just lost. It was up to me to put in the work to find him again. With new found hope and a Higher Power of my understanding, I received the power and direction needed to find myself and sustain my recovery. ~ Conner Davidson CPRS (Clinical Associate Team Leader, Young Men’s Department)
New Starts to me is the opportunity to get this thing called life right, and live it the way God intends me to live. With new starts, and the program of recovery I’ve not only been able to find myself, but actually love myself again. (Being worthy is a hard thing to feel when in active addiction.) I’ve been given what I call my dream job, and I get to have true happiness in my life because of new starts. None of it would be possible if I didn’t come to Cumberland Heights to find out I needed a program, a tribe, and a family of other like-minded people to help support me, care for me and encourage me along the way. In my New Start, I found God, the program and myself. ~ April Sambuco (Human Resources Generalist)
For me, I see the opportunity for New Starts more like a “Personal Renovation.” Much like fixing up an old house, the framework is there, but in active addiction I allowed my house to become dilapidated and unlivable. Luckily on September 5, 2005, I was given the opportunity to hire a new “interior designer,” (which I currently identify as my Higher Power) to remodel this ole house. A relationship with my Higher Power and the 12-Step program has given me a new “Design” for living. In recovery I’ve become a father to two beautiful children, I’ve been an employee at Cumberland Heights for 10 years, and I have wonderful relationships with my family again. I’ve been sober for over 12 years, and none of this would be possible without my New Start. As we start this New Year I look forward to many more opportunities for New Starts. ~ Travis W. Hupp, LADAC II (Clinical Coordinator, Men’s Program)
One of the worst things about my addiction was the rotting ball of shame and guilt I carried around in my gut every day. Made up of lies, failures, losses, wrong choices, and missed opportunities, I couldn’t get away from it unless I drank and used. Even then, it always came back when the high wore off. After a while, it was with me even with the alcohol and drugs—a horrible mess of feelings I couldn’t name. What a relief to hear the Third Step Prayer and know I could ask a Power greater than myself to “relieve me of the bondage of self.” It was scary to think about turning my will and my life over to the care of this Power I wasn’t totally sure would take care of me, but considering the alternative, I was willing to give it a try. People told me to try it one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time, as often as necessary. Each time I was willing to follow that suggestion, I could start again. I could have a New Start anytime I was willing to ask for help. The ball of shame and guilt began to unravel—sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly, as the Big Book says. Today, that ball is mostly a memory. And, if I start to feel that old sludge, thanks to a 12-Step program, its fellowship, and a Power greater than me, a New Start is always within reach. ~ Cinde Stewart Freeman, RN, LADAC, QCS (Chief Clinical Officer)