The best way to appreciate your recovery is to look back at your old life and see how different things are now.
Some changes are subtle, and some are glaringly obvious: you’re no longer drinking, you’re not waking up hungover, you’re not losing memories of experiences. You’re probably healthier than you used to be, physically, emotionally, and mentally. Maybe your relationships have improved. Maybe your work life has improved.
Being present in life, recognizing that each day is a gift, actually hearing someone in a simple conversation–these are more subtle changes but incredibly meaningful.
A 12-step program can help you keep track of and honor these changes.
A life of addiction is full of sadness, loneliness, and hopelessness. Simply owning this fact can give you an incredible sense of freedom; you are no longer in bondage. At the same time, recovery might bring about a sense of guilt and shame for the things addiction led you to do. This, too, is a healthy realization. Your actions no longer own you. You can differentiate yourself from your actions and recognize that your actions during addiction were the result of deep-seated patterns of not coping with life.
With this realization can come a great sense of relief and comfort. You no longer have to do things on your own. You have a support network and perhaps a sense of a higher power that you can rely on. You no longer have to react to life with no regard to consequence.
In recovery, you can feel a sense of calm even when things look their worst.
You know that no matter what happens outside, you have a sense internal peace and stability that will see you through. There is something amazing about seeing life as an active participant. It is like building a house, brick-by-brick, until you have an entire home.