Bread and Butter, Raw and Real You had to be there to really feel what you are about to read. I was, and I share it with you knowing that what I write won't compare with what I felt. But it is too good not to try to pass it along. This past week, I made a quick swing through …Read more. My Days Not Drinking When it comes to measuring success in recovery from addiction, it seems as though only those with consecutive days free from substances proclaim the tally with the same passionate aplomb as they count them. "It was 90 days ago today I woke up in a …Read more. That Elusive Broadway Debut My stops on the road close to home and far away the past few weeks have included: Two days of presentations at a Catholic college in central Kentucky. Two invitation-only "friend-raisers" for Hazelden Betty Ford, where I work, in the Twin Cities. A …Read more. Hooked on the Phone In a rush to clear airport security and get to the gate at the opposite end of the terminal, I discovered that my cellphone wasn't with me. I'd left it in the car in the parking lot. My tolerance is thin for travelers who slow the process at the …Read more.more articles
New Days to New Years
Virgin promise abounds right now. Whatever we vow to change about our lives, hopeful commitment drives us into 2012 like a snowplow charging down an impassable road after a paralyzing blizzard. The path ahead is fresh, clean and clear. We're on the move again in the right direction.
The holidays are always a reminder that we've done too much of something that isn't good for us. The first of the year puts it all into perspective; what was doesn't have to be anymore. We can't do 2011 over. But we'll do this year differently. So we vow to improve on our humanness, and we bolster our resolve with a stout resolution or two.
And then the other 364 days get in the way, because they are jampacked with everything that makes us imperfectly human in the first place.
Today it hit me that in all of my years in recovery, I have met only one person who claims Jan. 1 as the date he successfully stayed stopped from using the substance that had wrecked his life. Every year, Tom tells the same story because he's earned it. "I was in jail on New Year's Day with a hangover and couldn't get a drink, and by the time I got out 14 days later, I figured, 'Why bother? I might as well quit anyway.'" He's a celebrity of sorts in the recovery circles I hang out in, because he always lays claim to the year's first sobriety medallion. He's got a streak of 28 of them, too.
I do know a handful of people who got sober on other holidays or special occasions.
For most of the rest of us, our milestones in recovery are randomly ordinary days on a calendar except for what they represent: that flash of clarity when we finally grasped the lonely futility of our struggle against substances and accepted help. Jan. 2, May 1, June 28, Oct. 12, Dec. 11 or any other day of the year is our personalized New Year's Day, a start to the rest of the years of our life.
Before that happened, nearly everyone I know, including me, had other "stop" dates that fell by the wayside when we succumbed to the temptations of our chronic illness. We got another chance to get up off the bottom and start again and again and sometimes again. It is never too late or too early to get help. Recovery is possible. But it never happens until we're finally convinced that the eve of tomorrow is the last drink or drug we took today.
William Moyers is the vice president of public affairs and community relations for the Hazelden Foundation and the author of "Broken," his best-selling memoirs, and "A New Day, A New Life." Please send your questions to William Moyers at email@example.com. To find out more about William Moyers and read his past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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