I have been sober for more than 12 years
I never thought this could have been my path when I began my 12-step program.
I don’t know how I got to 12 years, but I do know that I stuck out going to recovery meetings. I have few that I regularly attend, week after week, year after year. My friends are in these meetings. I recognize just about everyone in attendance, and I look forward to going and catching up with them weekly.
My 12-step program was far from perfect
My 12 step program has been far from perfect, and far from what is recommended. Over the years I have had sponsors (and not), had spondees (and not), read the book, done the steps; as well as eschewed all of the above. I am not a religious person and to this day, I am not sure if I have a “higher power.” Usually my dog is my stand-in for a higher power, as I understand her.
By the end of my addiction I was lonely. My soul had become dark. Connection to others through recovery is what has helped me maintain my sobriety for so long. Connection to others is the opposite of addiction.
Sobriety isn’t a vaccine against depression
I have had extremely close calls to relapsing. After selling a company that I grew from nothing and built for 8 years, I went through a deep depression. My company became my child. I formed it and it formed around me. Most of my friends worked at the company, and, as soon as I sold the company, I lost my friends and the sense of who I was. My purpose for getting up in the morning was gone. That period of time was very dark for me. I didn’t pull out of the depression until I made a commitment to attend 90 meetings in 90 days.
When I go through rough periods, I know that I need to turn to a mutual aid program. When I am in a dark period the last thing that I want to do is leave the house. Now that I’m in recovery, I know that when things get dark I need to go to more meetings.
Finding a higher power that works for me
12 years in, and I am still struggling to define what higher power I subscribe to. I am open to a spiritual program, but my definition of a higher power is not a traditional grey-haired “God” with a capital G in any sense.
12 Steps for me has been a self-help program that I have chosen to do, no one makes me go. I attend because I want to. This is the same reason I maintain sobriety. I do it because I want to, not because I have to. I don’t need to make the choice to remain sober, but it is something that I choose to do every day.
12-step, for me, is all about people
In short, my program of recovery has been far from perfect. Lots of ups and downs, lefts and rights. But what I have done is go to meetings. For me the 12 step program is all about the people. I enjoy going to a place where I know everyone, I enjoy checking in, and being checked on.
About Adam Banks
Adam Banks is a certified interventionist at Suntra Modern Recovery. After receiving an MBA from the University of Chicago, Adam built a company that was later acquired by United Health Care. His discipline and attention to detail comes from his former career as an airline pilot, holding an ATP, the FAA’s highest license.
Adam recently co-authored Navigating Recovery Ground School: 12 Lessons to Help Families Navigate Recovery. In this lesson book Adam and John Roesch walk families through the entire intervention process. Suntra also offers a free video course for families considering hosting an intervention for a family member.