Growing Pains Page 8-9 Sooner or later we experience a particular kind of opportunity or catastrophe we haven't heard about in meetings. Sometimes even an event like a breakup, the loss of a job, or changes in our family triggers a flow of feelings, and it doesn't stop. Grief, hardship, or betrayal can make us feel terribly lonely. Occasionally, we experience physical changes that bring emotional freight with them, including depression, anxiety, and deep fear. There are also times when we find ourselves in crisis even though the circumstances of our lives look pretty good. Even the excitement of living our dreams- taking on a new career, moving to a faraway place, creating a family- can make us feel like we don't belong. Sometimes an outside event starts the ball rolling. At other times a cascade of emotions seem to start from nowhere. It can feel like we are backed into a corner, even if nothing is really happening at all. Once we have ben through this feeling and survived it clean, we know it won't last forever. But that doesn't mean we can see our way out. We come through these experiences with a deepened understanding and faith in our recovery. Through hard work and grace, if we keep coming back, we do get free. Eventually all of us come to an emotional crisis in recovery. We start wondering if recovery will last, or if we had just gotten a brief reprieve and we are about to go crazy again. A member shared, "My life seems stable by outward appearances, but inside I was a mess. I was clean, but miserable, reactive, and fearful." We find ourselves in these dark places sometimes with many, many years clean. We deal with our addiction, but some of our underlying issues remain untouched. Long-buried emotions come pouring to the surface, and we may or may not have the tools to deal with them. "As I discovered things about myself," a member shared, "my emotions started to run amok." There are no bitter ends in recovery, but sometimes it feels like that's where we are. Recovery gives us a new chance at life. Sometimes we have to accept that invitation more than once. The bottoms we hit in recovery can be frightening. We go through some dark times; when we are in pain, it can be hard to reach out, and easier to see differences. But even in darkness the process is still going on. When NA members say, "Don't give up five minutes before the miracle," we're not just talking about the first one. Our lives are full of moments when we are faced with the difficult decision to grow or go. Many of us leave not when things are horrible, but when we have one more spiritual hump to get over. We lose our way right before the miracle- sometimes again and again.

After not taking my first recovery seriously. A relapse took everything and almost everyone from me. I am now actively participating in a rigorous and honest life, to stay clean. Just for today I can do it, and I tell myself that daily. If you need to talk to someone I am here as I know there will be people in the program for me if I need them. Not asking for help in this disease is the worse thing we can do while trying to recover. I am here to help in any way I am able. No judgement only understanding, peace, hope, and strength.

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