"We are not a product of what has happened to us in our past. We have the power of choice." —Stephen Covey
I think having the ability to choose is the most powerful tool in our arsenal of not only recovery but life. We have been talking about Resilience in Recovery and choice is at the very heart of both Resilience and Recovery. There is some debate about if addiction is a choice, I am not here to debate that either way, however this is where my brain is going with this quote so bear with me. I am an addict. I don’t believe I chose to have the physical reaction and mental addiction the moment I first experienced a substance. Many argue with me that I couldn’t have been an addict at the age of seven but for me that’s where it starts. It was simple, I had a cold and I was given cold medicine like anyone would give a child. But I can remember the warmth and the sleepy feeling that followed and it was over. One dose and all I wanted was more. Things throughout my life from that moment were different and it wasn’t until I was 35 years old that I hit the hardest rock bottom and found my resilience and the power of choice. Once I was in recovery, not just from drugs and alcohol but from harmful attitudes and behaviors, my power and ability to choose really took off. I believe that my past has shaped me because until 2016 my power of choice was stolen by the life I was living but now I’m free and capable to choose. I can decide if I wanted to have a drink today whereas in my addiction I couldn’t stop myself and believe me, I tried! Every day in recovery has made the choice easier to make. Now I can choose my mindset, I can see how my past may have shaped me but it hasn’t decided who I am or who I will be. These are choices I must make.
Will I react to a situation like I have in the past? Be quick to anger or impatience? Will I give myself and those around me grace and mercy knowing we have all faced brutal moments?
We can choose who we are, no matter what life hands us. We can choose resilience and the next step in the direction we want to go. Choice is our weapon, resilience is our armor and hope is our superpower.
Sarah Deats is the Hope Inc. Stories Inspiration Engineer. Her goals are to make a connection with everyone that she can while building community, spreading hope, and sparking change. She believes that while life may not be easy, it is never lived alone.