If you stick around recovery groups for a while, you’ll eventually hear someone talk about growing up in recovery. That’s my story. When this all began, I simply needed to get sober and stay sober. What I didn’t realize was that I came into recovery with very few skills that would be helpful for a responsible, adult life. That’s not to say I didn’t have lots of other finely tuned skills, but things like professional accountability, financial responsibility, and emotional stability? Not so much. I was severely lacking the tools for living that could help me navigate the ups-and-downs of life. I might have had 30 years in age when I got sober but I definitely didn’t act like a grown-up.
I had no clue I wouldn’t just be getting sober, I’d be growing up in recovery
My early sobriety was often riddled with setbacks having to do with any of the following: Arguments with friends or family could push me right off the beam. I didn’t really understand how my behavior affected others and I definitely let the behaviors of others dictate my happiness, and how I felt about myself.
From personal to professional, I needed pointers on how to behave that would support a new way of living
When things got complicated or stressful in professional situations I would find some way out, not realizing the inconvenience that caused. I didn’t have the best follow through or ability to take criticism early on and it didn’t serve me well at work.
Even when it came to finances and basic organization, I needed help
Then, when it came to my personal finances, I was always surprised by things like bills and taxes and I was rarely prepared to get them done or paid. In part, because that was not something I had ever learned how to do. I had bookkeepers and accountants from the age of 16. But, by my mid 30s that was something I needed to learn how to do for myself for a bazillion reasons.
Learning how to be an adult was a daunting but necessary task
The positive part of this story is, I always wanted to be better and was willing to learn. I also had access to great sponsors, therapists, life coaches, you name it. One of the biggest reasons I became an advocate was to help lawmakers understand that everyone needs access to help and great healthcare, regardless of their insurance situation. Help and support are a key ingredient for the recovery of trauma, addiction, mental health issues and in my case, arrested development.
Growing up after sobriety requires the help of many
I grew up in recovery with the guidance and support of sponsors, mentors and professionals. I would not have been able to do it without my recovery army and their direction. There were things I would not have been able to hear about myself from family and friends. Breakthroughs I never would have had without professional help and the support of other people in recovery. Knowing I wasn’t alone through this made all the difference. Having friends to walk through it all with also carried me at times.
When I started writing down little gems from my tutelage, I didn’t think more of it than providing some life tips for our audience. When people wrote in asking where it was compiled was the first I considered putting it all together in one place. But, thus was born 100 Tips For Growing Up. If nothing else, I’m glad I did the exercise of putting it all into writing. It honors those who helped me. It honors me that I can do these things today. Complete the task. From concept through execution. Make it a pleasant experience for everyone. Share the information that was freely, and not so freely, given to me.