Posted By
Aug 11

Success in Recovery

By: Marnelle Tokio

What does “success in recovery” mean to you?

Seems simple enough to answer. I am Clean and Sober. You can draw my blood and get just blood. Peeing in a cup doesn’t cause me heart palpitations. My breath doesn’t smell like the inside of a vodka bottle. I don’t wake up and sweat fear and shame because of what I did last night. But you could put me in a coma and get all of the above. Being chemically clean plus not indulging in toxic behaviours gives me a shot at recovery but it doesn’t equal success in recovery for me…let me tell you what does.

One of the hardest and most honest days of my life was the day I went to detox. And I was not alone. People like me retreated into their own personal hells. Winston Churchill said, “When you are going through hell…keep going.” Every addict in early hours and days (and nights) has my admiration. As do the staff who help guide those who struggle and the families and friends who watch to see if we make it to the other side. I really didn’t think I was going to make it. I no longer had access to the drugs and alcohol that had stopped working long ago but I couldn’t imagine a future without them.

In my past, before I was a user, I was an athlete. I’ve broken bones and torn lots of things. But the most pain I’ve ever felt is from my broken heart. And I didn’t break just mine. My addiction hurt everyone who cared about me. I didn’t tear relationships… I shredded them.

I’ve told you more about my lack of success, but I some things are better it explained by what they are not.

So what’s left? Well, the truth is left. The truth is I needed help and I needed the humility to ask for that help. If I could have helped myself I would have. I know I “helped myself” to a lot of things — not just drugs and alcohol. I helped myself to your stuff too like your cash and keys and time and tears. I almost helped myself right into a morgue’s body bag. Now I help myself by asking for help. I listen to those who have been where I have been and they work hard to not go back. I learn from those who know more than me. It’s a relief to not have to know everything. To be conscious to my life and know that I have to ask for and accept help so I can be of use. Today I give hugs not headaches. That’s success in recovery for me…I wish the same for you.


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