On this particular day, my recovered life looks like this. I’m sitting on my living room couch working (writing this), still wearing my pj’s and flip flops at 11am. I drove my daughter to school like this after getting her ready for Halloween dress up day. I have an abandoned kitten by my side that my sister found yesterday and since we are “cat people”, we of course adopted it. I’ve become its surrogate mother, or according to my children – grandmother. We now have four cats which is slightly unmanageable, but sometimes having a conscience can make life that way. I’ll get him (we think it’s a him) checked out at the vets later and get advice on how to care for a kitten too young to be away from its mother.

Photo Courtesy of Nicola O’Hanlon

The rain is pouring down outside. There’s towels and underwear on the washing line, dripping wet, because I forgot to take them in yesterday evening. My kitchen is a mess. There’s dishes in the sink and laundry piled high on the kitchen table which will be moved to my bedroom later to make room for dinner – and maybe not. We may eat dinner from our laps in the living room by the fire.

I have a pack of tarot cards sitting on the windowsill to my right. My morning ritual of lighting three candles, a stick of incense and reading my cards while sipping my too strong coffee, happens every morning about 7am. I’ll also pick a crystal from my collection to carry with me all day and usually I’ll have my Rudraksha Seed Mala around my neck that was blessed in India and given to me by a friend. I’ll also recite invocation prayers connected to the Seichme energy healing modality and send healing to my nearest and dearest.

Some days I work out. I either walk on the beach or use my elliptical trainer that sits in one corner of the living room. Not today though. Some days I take myself to a coffee shop and work from there – won’t be doing that today either. My Son is home from school the last few days. He’s struggling with life quite a bit at the moment and needs extra care and attention. We are a house full of deep feeling and thinking creators. That way of being comes with a price, so mental health days are a necessity to help us maintain our functionality. Not being okay is perfectly acceptable in our home.

While working, my thoughts will flick between my next project and what I need from the supermarket. Did I pay the electricity bill? Will I be able to remedy my sleep deprived brain at some point over the weekend? Eventually I’ll shower and run the necessary household errands and pick my daughter up from school. No doubt her costume will be in tatters and the face paint I applied will be smeared and stuck in her hair.

On a daily basis, a recovered life for me is not glitz or glam or the least bit exciting. A life without active addiction doesn’t make me special or privileged or award winning. It does however, leave me feeling very rich. There’s no thoughts of escape. I have hopes and dreams of course, but I don’t want to escape from anything anymore. No thoughts of having a drink at the weekend or anytime. No desire to please anyone nor do I require anyone’s approval. I face reality with the strength and clarity to deal with it correctly. I trust myself. I trust my thinking and actions. I have room for the things that are important. Everyday my children and I feel joy and gratitude and serenity even when life is a giant bitch.

This is who I am now and I know longer fear it. I don’t need bells and whistles to make life worth living and I do what I do because I love doing it. This Friday my life in recovery is completely perfect and exactly where I’m supposed to be.


Nicola is our Blog and Article Editor at InTheRooms.com. Her work has been published internationally in many publications. She is a qualified Reflexologist, Masseuse and Life Coach. She has created content for intherooms.com for many years and was Editor at iloverecovery.com. She has lived with type 1 diabetes since she was 7 years old.


  1. That’s awesome Nicky 🙂
    I loved how u said not being okay is perfectly acceptable in our home. I feel the same way.
    Have a beautiful weekend <3

  2. Your day sounds like mine…except for the kids and a new kitten…I got around to tiding my kitchen but my bedroom is in tatters. Thanks for this essay — makes me feel less alone.

  3. Thanks Nicky. This is what we need….to know that we are all in this together and none of us is unique….even in our daily activities.

    • Nicky Reply

      Yeah, just ordinary people leading ordinary lives – but perhaps in an extraordinary way. Thanks Jackie.

    • Nicky Reply

      Thanks Muriel. Nice to know that someone from home reads my stuff xx

  4. sharon anne Reply

    THank you, Nicky. Mental health days are a necessity in our household, too, for functionality. 🙂

    • Nicky Reply

      I wish I knew about mental health days years ago lol! Thanks Sharon Anne.

  5. For me the best part of Friday’s in recovery is Saturday morning… waking up clear, not having to worry about what I may have spewed out the night before, my home not stinking like an ashtray and stale beer, not being consumed by guilt for foolish actions, not wasting the day nursing a hangover, etc. Friday’s in recovery are wonderful. 🙂

    • Nicky Reply

      Yes indeed – the morning after the night before is definitely better these days.

  6. This is brilliant, I waited until a Sunday to read this but it could be any day. The bouncing between the duty and the diligence, the physical mess and the emotional message are awesome. That is REAL LIFE! You have captured teh importance of being there for your kids and the kitten (how ever they may manifest in your life – we all have them in that form or another) and putting the mundane in persepctive. The laundry will dry again, the dishes will get done or attract others and some nights having a picnic in the living room is just what is needed. Thank you!

    • Nicky Reply

      Thanks so much Kyczy! Yes the laundry dried and there’s more in it’s place, and the dishes don’t stop appearing either. Kids and kitten are all good today. Thanks for the comment x

  7. Thanks for the repost and ping! Nice to see your face here and that you’re still part of the changing face of AA! Love and good wishes to you!

  8. nicky, i adore you and your way with words….simple and direct…..deeply felt and light enough that we can all relate….i loved this piece! thank you and i miss you!

    • Nicky Reply

      I miss you too. You come into my mind everyday – I will call you in the next few days.

  9. Hey Nicky. Your writing makes it real. The first part makes me grateful I’m retired and the last part that I’m sober. Keep up the good work. ODAAT!

  10. Hi Nicky — this is a wonderful piece! I notice it was written on my birthday, so it is a belated present to me. I love what you said about “it is perfectly acceptable not to be okay in our household” — wonderful. What a gift you give your children by being present to all of them. I am still learning how to do that with myself (and am quite sure I never had children for fear I would raise them with the same neglect I endured). I also quite liked the laundry stockpiled on the table – casa dolce casa as they say in Italian. xoxo Nina

    • Nicky Reply

      Hi Nina! Thanks so much for the comment. Despite giving what I didn’t have to my own children, I still have problems giving it to myself – so I relate. Good news is, I managed to get that stockpile of laundry off the table and into actual drawers in bedrooms! Now that’s progress.

  11. Real life for us recoverers is success upon success. Sometimes, after getting dressed, I even eat a proper breakfast! great message, Nicky xoxo

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