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It’s A Blessing, Not A Curse

Margaret Phillips
| November 25, 2016

Before I was finally able to sustain long-term recovery, I thought having the disease of addiction (and subsequent recovery) was a curse. I wanted no part of my addiction because it was killing me. I also wanted no part of total abstinence because it came with way too many negative connotations. I especially did not like the idea of never being able to drink or use drugs again. That was too scary for me to even think about! I thought, “No thanks. I’ll just stay in the hell I’m currently living in, because it doesn’t seem as scary.”

What?! That makes no sense what so ever! Well, of course it doesn’t make sense. The addicted brain doesn’t think rationally. Is constantly looking over your shoulder not scary? Is waking up, not having anything in the house to hold off the withdrawals so you have to seek out alternatives not scary? Is looking out the window to see your car has been wrecked and not knowing how it got that way not scary? I could go on… but you get the idea. Now that I’ve been clean and sober for a number of years, the idea that recovery is curse seems absolutely ridiculous.

Many of you may be thinking, “How could not being able to drink or drug be a blessing?” Well, let me throw out some things to consider. With so much negativity that seemed to be going on this summer, I thought I’d flood my Facebook page by sharing some of the blessings I’ve come to know in recovery as a way to celebrate my mother’s birthday. She would have been 83 in July of this year. So for 18 days, I posted a daily truth.

This “project” to put positive vibes out in the universe turned into another adventure in self-discovery for me. Funny how those things happen. The more blessings I posted, the more blessings I found. I was filled with gratitude beyond measure.

Recovery is not a curse. It’s a blessing that only comes when you are open to the wonders that life has to offer. I can see those today. If I was still on the other side, I can promise you I would not be able to see or appreciate any of the blessings I may have had.

I started the project off with a real doozy: forgiveness. This skill was the one skill that ultimately sealed the deal for me in being able to sustain long-term recovery. What and who I forgave isn’t as important as the action itself. But let’s just say that I let go of a very, very old resentment that needed to move along. From there, the blessings just flowed. If you are still thinking recovery is a curse, read over these blessings and see which ones speak to you. Take a look:

Day 1 – The ability to forgive. Amen!

Day 2 – I can give, but more importantly, RECEIVE love.

Day 3 – I have replaced FEAR with FAITH. Do I get scared? Yep! Do I believe things will always be OK no matter what? Yep – that’s faith (Hebrews 11:1).

Day 4 – All of the promises have come true for me as the result of working the 12 steps. What a blessing.

Day 5 – I have the power of choice today. I can choose to do anything and be anything I want. I lost that power when I was in active addiction.

Day 6 – I maintain an attitude of gratitude. If I’m grateful I’ve got no room to be hateful.

Day 7 – The best husband in the world who hung in there with me and always will be the light of my life. Love you!

Day 8 – I live, use, and work the serenity prayer in my daily life to keep things simple. God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Day 9 – I have an inner peace that no one can take away from me. It’s also a peace that can’t be explained to someone who doesn’t have it.

Day 10 – An appreciation and respect for the frailty of life understanding that each day is truly a gift not to be taken for granted.

Day 11 – I have freedom from the bondage of self. I used to get myself so tied up with fear, anxiety, resentment, worries, and frustrations that even Houdini wouldn’t have been able to break free! It’s not like that today.

Day 12 – I keep my promises.

Day 13 – I have self-confidence not to be confused with arrogance. It’s a belief in myself and my abilities knowing everything I’ve been through up to now has shaped me into the person I am today.

Day 14 – I understand humility. It’s not about me, but rather putting others before myself. Humility allows me to go more than halfway to meet the needs of others. What a blessing.

Day 15 – I’m a productive member of society, blessed with a career in academic medical research that allows me to make a difference, indirectly, in lives of others coupled with being a lead advocate for Heroes in Recovery, where I can follow my passion. Neither would have been possible without recovery.

Day 16 – Loneliness and despair are a distant memory. At no time do I ever feel alone today. All thanks to my faith and surrounding myself with people who truly care about me and that I care about as well.

Day 17 – I can and do live “one day at a time”. How much time did I waste getting caught up in the resentments of the past and fears of the future. I am so grateful I can be present in the gift called “today”.

Day 18 – I have my mom’s smile. The real blessing is that I have A LOT to smile about today which means I get to share a piece of her with all of you every single day.

Now, if that doesn’t show you the power of God’s grace, I’m not sure what will. I have been blessed beyond belief with a loving family, parents that loved me unconditionally and are now my guardian angels, wonderful friends in recovery, sponsors that showed me how to live, and the best gift– a husband whose love never failed even when I wanted it to so he could live his life without my addiction getting in the way. I would never have been able to recognize and appreciate blessings had it not been for the addiction and subsequent recovery. Do I wish to do it all again? No way! But I’m grateful I survived it all so that I can be the person my parents knew I could be.

When I look back over life before recovery I feel as though I’m looking at a stranger. I don’t recognize that woman anymore. And for the most part, that is a good thing. The woman I am today is much stronger, more loving and caring, grateful, and appreciative of everyone in my life. Do me favor– try this exercise for a week or a month by starting each day writing down a blessing in your life. Don’t just think about it. Put it on paper. I guarantee you will be overcome with gratitude and will have a new pair of glasses to see the world, and your place in it just a little differently.

Hot Mess, but Blessed!


Heroes in Recovery is seeking to Break The Stigma of addiction. You can help!! Join the movement by:

  1. Sharing your story of hope to inspire others. You can do this directly on the Heroes website Share Your Story. Click the ‘share yours’ link. Tell them Margaret sent you J
  2. Contact Margaret directly ( and I can help you get your story out there to show the world that recovery is possible.
  3. Sign up for a Heroes 6K run/walk near you and join thousands of others supporting the movement.

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