The Hard Way Up

By: Terry Russell

I’m just going to say it: recovery is hard. Like we often talk around here, recovery’s a process—and in more ways than one. There’s a process that leads us into addiction. And there’s a process that leads us out.Terry

When I think about myself and my own struggles, I think a lot about my mom. My father was an alcoholic and absent, and my mother was married lots of times. You can fill in the blanks. What I know for sure is my mom was an addict, like me. She ‘self-medicated.’ That’s what they call it now. Basically, she popped pills, prescription drugs mostly, trying to find a way to make herself feel better, to get from one day to the next. I guess it rubbed off. If she could get high, I figured, why not me?

One of the things I’ve learned about myself in the recovery process is that it’s hard for me to say no—and always has been. Back in high school, I saw other kids smoking dope and drinking, and they offered me to give it a try. I did, and I got hooked. That was it. I guess I wanted to be like them, to fit in. My mom was pretty much doing the same thing, after all. And me, I couldn’t say no. Still to this day, I struggle with it. I’m easily influenced, I guess you’d say. If friends make an offer, it’s hard for me to turn it down—even though I know it’s not good for me, and I’ll only end up disappointed in myself.

I’ve been in recovery programs a few times. Right now, I’ve been clean from crack for several months. But weed and alcohol are still a problem. When I’m using, I’m paranoid; I imagine cops are around every corner. I get argumentative, wanting to fight everyone. Honestly, all I know for sure is I have to take it day by day. I guess that’s what ‘process’ really means, if you think about it. God is showing me I can say no—with his help. You have to keep your spirit up. Stay focused on doing God’s will. And stay away from those who are trying to trip you up.

It’s hard, for sure. But that’s the process of recovery for me.