Emily J.

The only thing worse than being an addict is denying that you are an addict. I used to tell myself, "If it's legal, and if everyone else is doing it, it's okay." The years blurred by, until I started burning up in the hell that I had created for myself.

I realized that if I had any chance at recovery, it would start with a new awareness of my triggers. I made an inventory of the stressors in my life. And then, step by step, I tried to eliminate or at least alleviate them. My secret is to establish daily rituals and practices, so that I can stay ahead of those awful temptations.

Being clean does not ensure my mental health all of the time. I still get crazy ideas. The craziest is that I don't deserve better. But I am staying humble and vigilant, and opening my heart in forgiveness. That's how I manage my progress in hopes that one day my grown children will be proud of me.

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