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Sierra Phillipssierra 2

September was recovery month, and I have been reflecting a lot on what addiction is and on my own recovery process. I have been in and out of recovery for the past four years. Since I was sixteen years old I have said “Hi, my name is Sierra and I am an alcoholic” more times than I can count, and after a while it just became a normal statement.

Addiction is not as simple as you took a drink and now you’re an addict — it’s a progressive disease. Over the years my disease progressed to the point where I was using hard drugs and was not myself. I decided that I was ready to get clean and stay clean after going to some Narcotics Anonymous meetings. These meetings are what keep me clean; the support of others in recovery is what keeps me moving forward instead of backward. Being sober is not simple. You cannot do it on your own.

An addiction is anything we become obsessive or compulsive over. It does not have to be drugs or alcohol. As addicts we are people who use mind-alternating, mood-changing substances to the point where it causes a problem in an area of our life. Addiction is a disease that involves more than the use of drugs, and many of us believe that our disease was present long before the first time we used. We did not choose to become addicts, we suffer from a disease!

"Like everything, recovery is a process,
and you have to be willing to work the
steps and come back if you relapse."

In our world we see addiction everywhere, and sometimes it is obvious and sometimes it’s not. Some less obvious addictions include sex, money, and food, and these addictions are just as powerful as an addiction to drugs.

I have learned a lot about recovery over the last four years. There are a lot of recovery programs out there, and the programs that work vary for different people. I started in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous and realized it was not for me. I discovered the Narcotics Anonymous program when I went to treatment in March of this year. I have found a love for Narcotics Anonymous and for the people in the rooms. Right now I am living for today, one day at a time. Recovery is a long yet very possible process. We did not become addicts in a day so we definitely cannot recover in a day. It is not a simple decision to enter recovery. Rather, it is something that people need to be active participants in.

My story is not something I am proud of, but I am also not ashamed of it — everything happens for a reason. I am thankful for being clean today and being in recovery. Like everything, recovery is a process, and you have to be willing to work the steps and come back if you relapse. Relapse is a part of my story and many others that I know. Thanks to my recovery I am working two jobs and will be attending Seattle Central this fall to start courses towards a Bachelors in Social and Human Services with a chemical dependency certification.

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