“When I'm at the bottom looking up, the main question may not be 'how do I get out of this hole?' In reality, the main question might be, 'how do I get rid of the shovel that I used to dig it?'" –Craig D. Lounsbrough

I’ve heard so many inspirational stories about people hitting rock bottom before turning their lives around. They gave me so much hope that I would have a similar moment. I had all of these preconceived notions of how my recovery would magically happen once I reached that point. I would instinctively know that I had finally managed to save my own life.

I instead hit rock bottom after rock bottom. None of them inspired my recovery. I felt like there was no end in sight and I quickly lost all hope. Because of this, I became comfortable using the shovel. At least I had more control when I was digging the hole. It just hurt less to expect less of myself and my future.

I experienced countless rock bottoms in the last 10 years, but nothing about my situation improved until I changed my mindset. Once I realized how to put the shovel down, something clicked in my brain. I started recovering in my own way on my terms. This did not happen for me because I had reached some fated pinnacle of despair. I recovered because I made a commitment every day to put down my shovel and use my recovery tools to build a ladder.

Elizabeth Crews

Elizabeth is a Certified Peer Support Specialist at the Newark Recovery Response Center. Her passion is to provide person-centered services and empower guests through strengths-based language.