By Johnny Lawhon
Hello, my name is Johnny and I am a recovering addict. I started on my journey in recovery April 20, 2013, so that means that I am celebrating my seventh year in recovery. I have had my struggles over the years, but I have managed to get through all those hardships without resorting to using drugs to change the way I feel. I have to admit that I was not prepared for this newfound situation we are all in. I don’t think that anyone is ever truly prepared to face a worldwide pandemic. I personally have had a hard time with this transition to social distancing and staying at home, but I know I am going to make it to my seventh year in recovery and beyond because of the tools I now have to get through hard times without resorting to old behaviors. I believe other people who struggle with addiction can develop similar tools to lead productive lives and find a way to cope with hardships without using drugs.
One thing that I have learned is that I will not get very far in recovery if I try to do it alone. Therefore, I have found like-minded people that I can reach out to whenever I fall onto hard times. I typically attend in person recovery meetings but now have resorted to attending online meetings because I need to keep myself connected with my support system. Having people in my life that truly understand the disease of addiction has become the cornerstone of my recovery. To have the common purpose of continuing forward in our recovery and helping each other in hard times has given me the strength to face anything that life might throw my way. My hope is that people with similar circumstances as me can find the same kind of strength and the hope that there is way to live life without the use of drugs.
Also, I have found that believing in a power greater than myself is key in getting through life’s challenges. If I did not have my recovery support system and a belief in a higher power, I would not have made it where I am at today. Truly knowing that I never have to go through anything alone makes me feel an inexplicable gratitude. If everyone who battles with the disease of addiction had a recovery support system and a belief in a higher power, I believe they too would be able to start their path to finding true recovery.
So, as I am on my seventh year, I have to remind myself that everything really is OK even if it doesn’t feel like it. Sometimes I distract myself with my favorite show or movies to keep my mind occupied when I am having to spend so much time alone. I reach out to my friends in recovery, and I also reach out to the God of my understanding. I choose to keep pushing forward even when things seem hopeless and I wake up every day with the mindset that I will do whatever it takes to fight for my recovery. I truly believe that anyone who struggles with addiction can make the decision to stop using drugs and find a new way to live. All it takes is making the choice that you are done with that way of life, and then do whatever it takes to fight for your recovery.