Regaining What is Lost: Recovery Reflections

“We all need recovery from anything that blocks our capacity to love.” Recovery Café cofounder Killian Noe

Recovery is “the regaining of…something lost or taken away.” That’s one of the definitions Google offers. That could mean regaining a house after a flood; saplings after a storm; a neighborhood after an inferno; a nation after tyranny.

It could also mean regaining an identity that is often lost in the haze of addiction—the identity of being someone who is both lovable and has love to offer to others. Once the haze—often used to flee self-loathing—clears, the centrality of that identity has a chance to reappear.

To celebrate recovery and all the healing it brings, and in recognition of September as National Recovery Month, we asked staff and Members at Recovery Café Seattle to reflect on two questions: 1) What is recovery to you? 2) How do you celebrate your recovery? Here’s a bit of what they had to say.

Gus: Recovery is a new way of life. I celebrate it every day, one day at a time. I love recovery. When I was using, I had a hole in my soul. Now I am seeking peace, compassion, serenity, gentleness—what I call “attributes of positivity, of Christ.” People at the Café keep me grounded. I now have a purpose in life: to be of service. Giving back gets me out of myself.

Crystal: Recovery is taking my life back and enjoying and experiencing my family. Recovery is moving in the right direction. I celebrate by being present to my nieces and nephews, through family vacations, and by expressing gratitude to God. It’s so important, in recovery, to find your place, your people. I know people are happy to see me at the Café and know my true self will be accepted. 

Two images, taken from the banner pictured at the top of this post, reflecting on the question: “What is recovery to you?”

Leonard: Recovery is all about healing. More than abstaining, it’s a holistic life transformation—a spiritual, physical, mental, emotional change. Faith is very important to me; I know I have to do the work, but God sustains me—I can’t do recovery on my own. I celebrate recovery by living the way I live: every day, not using and not hustling. And I celebrate recovery by encouraging others, by helping them see that change can happen. 

Krysta: Recovery is approaching unfamiliar territory and letting go of habitual experiences and surroundings. It is courageous and requires knowing you are not alone—that a community is out there to help. Recovery is an act of loving yourself, your story, and stepping out each day with a gentle and forgiving heart. 

I celebrate the people who rallied around me. I celebrate my reconnection with my Higher Power and the way that I see this spirit moving around me in each day. I celebrate the immense ways I’ve changed and how I talk to myself about these changes. I celebrate my life, for I am still here to experience it. And, I celebrate with cake!

Mike: Recovery is not doing what I used to do. It’s enjoying my place of residence. I celebrate recovery one day at a time.

Tiffany: Recovery to me is peace. When I think about my recovery, I am thankful for my family—for my children and mom for believing in me and always thinking the best of me. Their love kept me strong in this fight! I celebrate my peace of mind, my clarity, and my resilience. I celebrate by celebrating myself. I spend time loving myself more and I practice self-care regularly.

Thank you to Gus, Crystal, Leonard, Krysta, Mike, and Tiffany, as well as all those who added their thoughts on recovery to the banner!