The Turning Point in My Recovery
Today is International Recovery Day — a global observance held on September 30th each year. It is a time to raise awareness about substance use recovery and celebrate the achievements of individuals who have overcome substance use challenges.
The observance of International Recovery Day aims to reduce stigma surrounding addiction and promote understanding and support for those in recovery. It provides an opportunity for people to share their recovery stories, inspire others, and highlight the various pathways to recovery.
Long-time LifeRing Recovery Community Member and active collaborator Robert Stump shares his story below.
The road to recovery can be a long and challenging journey, filled with many ups and downs. However, there often comes a moment that marks a turning point in one's life, where everything changes, and progress becomes life-changing.
My story - The Turning Point in My Recovery
Timeline: January 2006
I wasn’t feeling so good now. After 35-plus years of drinking, I was consuming a fifth of vodka, if not more, straight out of the bottle most days of the week. Sometimes after a night out, I would not even know how I got home. I was getting sick after drinking and throwing up blood more times than I can remember. This was not good. I needed to go see a doctor and find out what was wrong with me (it is funny how the alcoholic's mind ignores the obvious).
I finally did see a doctor. They did a bunch of testing. After a week, I was called into the doctor's office and given the news of my test results. They were not good. It was strongly suggested that if I did not stop drinking, I would have significant organ complications and I could die as a result.
The turning point of my recovery came when I finally acknowledged the severity of my situation and the impact it was having on others.
Now that woke me up. It was quite a shock. I remember thinking that I didn’t want to die this way. Life was much more desirable than death by drink. I wanted to die sober.
At this point, I decided to dedicate the remainder of my life to active recovery. Of course, I still had bills to pay, so I couldn't just quit my work, but work took a back seat to my recovery quest.
At the end of January 2006, I returned to my recovery home: the 90-day Kaiser outpatient recovery program (I had been there twice before in the previous years — however, that's another story). I started attending LifeRing meetings during the first week of coming back and was prescribed Antabuse (which I took religiously every day for a couple of years). After I graduated from the Kaiser program, I went the extra step and attended group therapy. I also continued going to LifeRing meetings once a week.
After two years of continuous sobriety, I took on a convenorship role for one of the LifeRing meetings at the Kaiser facility where I started my recovery journey, and the rest is history.
Reflections on my recovery
For me, the turning point of my recovery came when I finally acknowledged the severity of my situation and the impact it was having on others. This realization was difficult for me to come to terms with, but it was necessary to motivate me to make the necessary changes in my life.
My recovery team and I, including some of my friends in LifeRing, helped me to commit to the recovery process fully. This included seeking professional help and actively participating in my treatment plan. I started to make significant changes to my lifestyle, such as avoiding triggers and practicing self-care.
Instead of seeing myself as a victim, I took control of my life and accepted responsibility for my own healing. This shift in mindset was incredibly empowering and helped me make significant progress in my recovery journey.
I feel it's important to remember that everyone's recovery journey is personal, and the turning point may differ for each individual. However, by staying committed to the process and being open to change, I think a person has a good chance of finding their own turning point and making real progress towards healing and long-term recovery. I did.
As of today, I have 17+ years of continuous recovery. Don’t know what the future will bring. All I know is that I need to reconfirm my recovery commitment every day and celebrate the life that the world has given me.
Robert Stump joined the LifeRing Recovery Community in 2006. He has served as the LifeRing Executive Director, continues as an online convenor and our Operations Manager, and is now an active member on the Board of Directors.
Share Your Journey! A Call for Recovery Stories
Your story has the power to make a difference! By sharing your experiences, challenges, and ultimately, your triumphs, you have the opportunity to touch the lives of countless individuals who may be in search of hope and inspiration.
Recovery is a very individual concept and there are as many paths as there are destinations. Each journey has its own unique story, LifeRing encourages us to share our stories with others—not just to encourage them explore positive directions, but support our own recovery journey. We firmly believe that every story of recovery is a beacon of hope, inspiring others to embark on their own path toward healing and self-empowerment.
It is in this spirit that we invite you to submit your recovery story to be featured in our newest project.
Over the next few weeks, we are collecting stories like yours to be included in our newest publication: Humanly Possible 2. This book is the second volume of Humanly Possible, LifeRing's original collection of stories published in 2019.
You can find more information about this project on the LifeRing Share Your Story webpage.