Three Ways I "Keep Coming Back"

Inspiration for Your Journey

When I first entered recovery, I struggled.

I was filled with shame and frustration about the fact that I couldn't control my drinking. I was embarrassed and angry and I didn't want to have to go to meetings, much less hold hands with strangers and say the Serenity Prayer. The people around me sensed this, I'm sure, and over and over again they told me to just "keep coming back." I resented them for saying it, but for some reason I did just that—I kept coming back: to meetings, to fellowship, to my AA sponsor, to the people and to the place where I started my journey in recovery.

All these years later, "keep coming back" is my recovery mantra. It's about the sense of connection and service and belonging I feel when I keep showing up, keep reaching out, and keep searching for my truth.

  • Keep showing up. Day after day and year after year, there are some lessons I seem to continually re-learn in my recovery. "Keep showing up" tops the list. Whenever I start to let fear creep in by talking myself out of something I know, deep down, is good for my recovery, it's time to get out of my head and back to basics. My way forward always begins by simply showing up.
  • Keep reaching out. I am forever grateful to the people who picked me up and took me to meetings when I was new to recovery. I am indebted to those who encouraged me to speak at meetings when I was terrified and felt I had nothing to offer. Such seemingly small gestures of support were hugely beneficial to my early recovery. Reaching out to others is the win-win of recovery. We strengthen our own recovery as much as we help fellow travelers along their way.
  • Keep searching for your truth. As much as we share a common struggle and path, we can't do recovery for each other. It's by living our own lives honestly and authentically that we shine the light of recovery brighter for one another.

So, today, guess what I say to others I see struggling in recovery? You got it: Keep coming back. Stay connected. We're here for you.

Nell HurleyNell Hurley is the executive director of national alumni relations for the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.
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