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Reaching the 10-Year Milestone in Addiction Recovery

Today I have just over ten years of sobriety.

You might ask how you can stay sober for such a long time. I was heavily addicted to drinking alcohol. Staying sober was extremely difficult for the first 6 months, but I found the pathways that work for me. Let me share a bit about my journey to this recovery milestone.

Today, Kristi travels the world with her husband, John, enjoying the incredible opportunities that a life in recovery brings.

I don’t think there is any one way to keep sober. I believe there are many paths. I first went through a 30-day inpatient rehab clinic that I found to be very helpful having a wonderful counselor there. After a brief relapse, I went to some sober community meetings in those first few months. My husband and close friends were a major source of support. At the time, I was in the Air Force and have always been so grateful for the full support of my chain of command and leadership.

The Air Force provided a very effective alcohol and drug program which included weekly counseling and meetings. I was motivated to stay sober and researched anything on the internet that would help me keep sober. I found that the online program of SMART RECOVERY helped the most at first, especially in overcoming the cravings that were my biggest hang-up.

After the 6 month mark, I didn’t have any more cravings. It didn’t bother me anymore to hang out with friends who drank or ate in establishments selling alcoholic beverages. The obsession was lifted. Since then, I don’t think about drinking and ignore alcohol. I have not attended that many recovery meetings through the years, though today I base my recovery on a spiritual walk with Christ, staying motivated, accepting to never drink again, and having gratitude.

Two years ago my church started a faith-based recovery ministry. I was excited about this new ministry and wanted to help out with it so I joined the board.

The Wednesday night speaker meetings are very inspirational and a helpful factor in staying motivated for sobriety. The beautiful thing about these meetings is connecting with others with the same goals of maintaining long-term sobriety. You can make strong lasting friendships and also have accountability.

I am glad to see it grow and see it making such a positive impact in our community. I believe this is the type of ministry all churches should consider creating as a way to combat the growing substance misuse and overdose issues occurring in communities all across the nation.

Besides the speaker meetings, our Church’s recovery program also includes recovery coaching, resources, peer support, referral to treatment or sober living, family support, and community. Most recently our church will install Naloxone dispensers called the Overdose Awareness Kit (OAK) on each floor of the church to combat the growing overdose crises in the community. I was shocked to learn that a one-year time period from April 2022 to 2023 saw a devastating 111,355 deaths due to drug overdose across this nation--but I have hope because of programs like First Recovery at my church. Addiction recovery support and recovery support services have to start in the local community and the church should be in the forefront of this crisis.

We are grateful to welcome Kristi as the new Managing Editor of Circle of Chairs, bringing her expertise and recovery wisdom.

Want to share your story of recovery? Check out the submission guidelines here.


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