Recovery Goes Beyond Just Staying Clean

Carly BensonSobriety, Spirituality0 Comments

recovery sobriety carly benson

Whether you’re in recovery or not, let’s be honest, we’re all recovering from something: the loss of someone or something; a way of life that is no more. To fill the voids of life, we are always on an incessant quest for more, more, more along with our need for immediate gratification in a world where constant distraction consumes us.

I read a quote recently and it struck a serious cord in me. It said:

“I cannot be still for long. There is a riot in me all the time. A needy, restless voice in my heart endlessly urging me onwards. I ache for new experiences and my hunger for adventure is boundless. My entire life is a perpetual loop of longing for something else.” –Beau Taplin, Something Else

So. Much. Yes.

It got me thinking about how this perpetual thirst for adventure, for something more, something else, described me so exquisitely. Not only did it describe me, in this present day, but it shed a tremendously bright light on what also fueled my addictions. And in that moment, something clicked that sent my mind racing.

As we all know, a riot can start a war. And that’s exactly what happened with my addictions. This internal riot, need for speed, adrenaline, more – waged a war on me. That is until I was able to sit down to a peace treaty with myself and find conflict resolutions that would allow for a healthier way of life. A healthier way of rioting, if you will.

In my active addictions with alcohol, cocaine and getting a rush in any way I could, I was constantly seeking adventure inside the high. I was searching for connectedness to places, people and things behind the guise of substance abuse. I couldn’t be still because I always craved something more.

What I didn’t realize was that the greatest adventure I would ever embark on was getting to know ME.

The real me. Underneath the addictions and substances. The Carly that lives with this same premise but without the need to alter my mind to feel or obtain that sense of more-ness.

We seek and search around lands unknown, fully aware that there is such a vast part of the world we haven’t seen yet and perhaps will never see. There is addiction in this expedition to turn over rocks in unknown territories. The same can be true for parts of us that we’ve never seen before once we begin the process of inward exploration.

Maybe our addictions for ‘more’ stem from wanting to collect experiences, to feel connected to people and parts of the world and to be fascinated by something else as we try new things on for size.

But what if we could find that same fascination, fulfillment, connection and adventure by getting to know ourselves?

When I first got sober I didn’t know how to be still. To sit with this quiet and sometimes roaring riot inside me. I had to learn how to be alone. How to sit in stillness. How to get in touch with the depths of my core being.

That is what sobriety does. It is an arranged meeting, interview and at times a trial with yourself. There are questions you ask yourself and things you search for to find meaning in who you are.

And in this examination, the addiction to your substance of choice suddenly begins to shift to an addiction of becoming YOU. Because the deeper you go, the more profound the experience becomes.

Sobriety is a journey within. And goes much further than just staying clean.

What if that same longing we have that we try to fulfill with alcohol and drugs, is not a longing to get high, but a longing to get to know ourselves? To feel connected to our inside, which we think we can find on the outside somewhere, somehow.

What if the desire for grand adventure and the aching so many of us experience all the time is a call to experience our higher self? But so often we can’t hear the call clearly because of all the noise and distractions of this world. The call in our deafened world can so easily be confused with a call for escape with substances, when really the greatest escape from the world we can ever experience is when we escape with ourselves, on the inside.

Our destructive patterns are not what start riots inside of us. The hunger for more is what starts that fire. Too often we fuel that fire with our addictions not realizing the real gas for the fire comes from self inquiry, reflection and peeling back the layers by discontinuing our numbing escape routes and mechanisms.

Sobriety allows us to experience ourselves. It is then, and usually only then, that we face ourselves head on, without our usual crutches, and begin to see who we really are. The experience of coming into yourself sans the booze or drugs, is the adventure of our lifetime.

So many of the people I speak with have this same longing: for MORE. And so many of those same people think that becoming sober means that the fun, adventure, thrills and connection will end.

Sobriety is not the ending; it is merely where the storyline thickens.

Sobriety creates an avenue to actually feel our emotions. Pain included. We always think pain, or rather feeling it, makes us weak. But we have it all wrong. Feeling pain is the exact recipe to make us STRONGER. Just as muscles have to be torn open to grow and strengthen, we, too, as humans have to be torn open. Part of being ripped apart means we feel all the yucky stuff inside.

Feeling is healing. And when you face life on sober terms, you allow yourself to feel. To heal. To grow. To strengthen.

Perhaps this riot has always been with me. I always knew there was something inside that allowed me to spiral out of control like I did. But I also know the energy of that same riot, is what allowed me to take on the greatest adventure and experience of my life – recovery, sobriety and living a life geared towards being the best possible version of myself; one lesson, one rip and one ache at a time.

Recovery goes beyond just staying clean. It’s a process of staying true to you, your commitment to yourself and the undying hunger for more.

For experiencing yourself.

For restoration.

For improvement.

For something else, because we always have that lingering feeling that we are capable of so much more.

We must learn how to quench this insatiable appetite in healthy ways that not only show us who we are as a person, but also what we’re made of.

Let the riot inside of you make you a better person as you search for adventure inside the wonderland that is YOU.

Some people go their entire life never learning how to be at one with themselves. And few rarely master it. Instead we all tend to just aimlessly dance around on the earth, moving quickly from one thing to the next, always yearning for more, not knowing what we are really yearning for more of is…ourselves.

Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “A riot is the language of the unheard.”

Make sure you are listening to what is unheard inside of you. It doesn’t matter whether you are active in recovery, practicing sobriety or not. I urge you to seek ways to understand how to be alone with yourself. Get down with flying solo. Find solace inside yourself. There is a whole world awaiting you in there. Namaste.