- Joshua Sherman Productions
- Benjamin Lerner
After walking for several blocks, I found myself staring directly at a seemingly nondescript apartment complex. My heart skipped a beat when I realized that I was passing one of the places where I had bought and used drugs many times at the apex of my active addiction. As I watched someone walk through the front entrance, the familiar creak and click of the door sent electric shockwaves through my body. The unexpected sensory triggers reawakened my addictive tendencies with overwhelming intensity. I felt myself losing my sense of mental balance as I straddled the wide and treacherous gap between my present and past realities.
I was roused from my desperate reflections by a brisk gust of November wind. After regaining my composure, I stopped in my tracks and took a moment to study my surroundings. I found myself standing on a curved sidewalk at the edge of a bustling downtown roundabout. Several wide and open avenues branched off from the center of the circle, each leading to a different destination.
If I walked down one road, it would lead me directly to an open-air drug market, where I could restart the deadly behavior pattern that had nearly cost me my life.
If I walked down another, I could run back to the safety of my warm hotel room.
The third option was to take the road that led to the performance venue, where I could move forward with my life in recovery.
My head started to spin as I watched swiftly moving processions of fancy cars zoom around the circle and veer off onto different paths. I didn’t know if I had the strength to keep moving in the right direction, much less broadcast a message of hope and recovery to an audience of influential changemakers.
It was then that I remembered the words that a wise member of my sobriety fellowship had once told me when I was faced with a similar predicament in the earliest days of my recovery:
“When we first get sober, we make every effort to distance ourselves from the harmful patterns that, in the past, held us back. As we regain our strength through sobriety, we often find ourselves in situations that put us face-to-face with our most powerful fears once again. When we face those pivotal moments, we are given the opportunity to draw on the wisdom that we have gained through our time in recovery. As long as we remain grounded in the solution, we have nothing to fear. Just because our lives come full circle, it doesn’t mean that we have to get trapped in the same dangerous and toxic cycles.”
I turned away from the apartment building, took a deep breath and took the first steps toward the road that led to the performance venue. As I walked away from the circle, I understood that my past addictive tendencies no longer had the power to hold me back. Recovery had given me the courage to keep walking in the right direction and the clarity to understand that I didn’t have to give in to my lesser urges.
Keep moving forward.
Run towards the truth.
Don’t quit before the miracle happens.