I first heard of Jericho through my sister when she was attending Union City Church. Really, I wasn’t sure I wanted to sober up, but I was desperate for change and my circumstances were increasingly grim. I was homeless and plagued by constant episodes of drug-induced psychosis. While I had attempted to get sober on and off throughout the years, nothing stuck. I couldn’t keep friends, jobs, housing and more importantly, my sanity and self-respect.
I can look back at my early recovery and see where the shifts happened – I started to unpack and address my resentments, connected with God and built relationship with Them, I started to do the things I didn’t want to do, and I became willing to go to any lengths to stay clean. I had to use that desperation to fuel my early recovery until I saw the benefits of living a substance free life. I learned that I am worthy, I have a voice and I will always have a seat at the table.
Community was instrumental in helping me see my part. Living in community is not easy, but it is essential. As a person in recovery, I cannot operate from an “island” as that is exactly what I did in active addiction. They showed me how to love myself, and love others in a deeper, more meaningful way.
To the newcomer, I would say that feelings shouldn’t dictate the way we act. For years I let my emotions guide my actions, from a simple “I don’t feel like it” all the way to using my anger as an excuse to lash out, be passive aggressive or harmful. One of the most profound changes was realizing that I can feel my feelings, without using them as a justification to not do something, or act on self.
I had to learn to get outside of myself. My head is one-sided – no matter how open-minded I think I am, I can only ever see from my perspective and my bias. I need to remain open to the understanding of others for me to grow.
My biggest challenge right now is learning balance. How to give myself self-care all while being of service to the other. It’s an ongoing journey. But through this journey I have learned that I do love myself, even when I am not perfect. I can dream today, I have goals. I have spent many months trying to learn Arabic, and while I am still atrocious at it, it’s something I have been enjoying.
Today I am grateful for who the Womb created me to be.