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Betty Ford once said, “I don’t look at what I’ve lost. I look instead at what I have left.” Wise words from one of the most famous Americans to ever struggle with alcohol. The point she makes should ring true for anyone in addiction recovery. Part of healing is accepting that what happened in the past pales in importance to what you do today. 

Each person who has had dealings with addiction pays a significant price for their illness. It’s different for each person; some lose their careers, while others lose relationships—sometimes permanently. The non-monetary costs of alcohol and substance use disorders can be hard to stomach.

However, addicts and alcoholics have an opportunity to rebuild their lives. Most mistakes we make in life are repairable; wrongs can be made right. Amends can be made in most cases to the majority of people that are harmed during active addiction. Human beings have an enormous capacity for rebirth and redemption. Living to see the recovery side of addiction is cause for gratitude.

For individuals in early recovery, it can be hard to see the forest for the trees. Lingering shame from decisions made in the grips of disease is punishing. People can be blinded by their regrets, even when they are taking steps to better their position. It’s not always easy to see that life will get better with time and accept that the way you feel today will not be the way you feel tomorrow. Holding on despite one’s negative feelings is paramount.

To Be in Recovery is To Be Alive


Early sobriety shouldn’t be comfortable for a myriad of reasons. Learning how to live without drugs and alcohol is a monumental task for anyone. Coupled with the fact that recovery is about so much more than abstinence, the first year of recovery can be a painfully eye-opening experience. Adopting new principles for living and finally accepting that there are things in life that are beyond one’s control is challenging.

Fortunately, you are not alone and who still have your faculties to make sound and healthy choices moving forward. A whole new existence full of wonder and joy awaits any person who is willing to persevere through the trials and tribulations of early recovery.

Most people who get clean and sober are doubtful about their prospects initially. They are suspicious when they look around the rooms of recovery and see shining, happy people. They witness, perhaps in disbelief, seemingly disparate people helping each other to keep addiction at bay. Maybe most of all, the newly sober see people who are grateful to be recovering alcoholics and addicts — a group of individuals who share an immense sense of gratitude for life.

The stakes of addiction are high; people in long-term recovery respect the fact that things could have been very different. The longer one is in the program, the more they come to appreciate that each day sober is a miracle and a blessing. Again, it’s not what one has lost—it’s what one has left that truly matters.

If you are in the early stages of recovery, then do your best to draw strength from the support around you. If you are riddled with regret about your past, ask for guidance on acceptance. Most of all, trust in the process; as the saying goes, the program works if you work it. Recovery is a way of life that gives men and women the tools to make continued progress and help others do the same along the way. If you stay the course all the miracles of recovery can be yours too.

Southern California Addiction Treatment Center

At Hope By The Sea, we offer several different types of treatment programs to meet the unique needs of each client. Please contact us today to learn how we can help you or a loved one achieve long-term recovery. We are available at all hours of the day to answer your questions. Hope Starts Here!