The Counter Culture of Recovery

“Sex, Drugs and Rock n Roll” is a term that millions of us are familiar with whether you experienced it or not. Today, “Recovery” is a term more widely used than ever before and at the same time, what does it really mean?

The Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) currently defines it as “A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self- directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.” I like that. I define it as not using alcohol or other drugs to help me get through the challenging events brought on by everyday life and other potential crisis.

More importantly, what does it mean to you? This can be extremely helpful in gauging the culture that is created by oneself.

In order to put it into perspective, a retrospective might help:

Four score and a few years ago, I generally “came to” anywhere between 2 and 6pm. I had coffee, I had cigarettes. I always had my “lunch” next so that I can wash it down with a glass of the finest $8 bottle of wine. I was quite proud to think that I didn’t drink first thing in the morning. On a good day, it was now 5pm.

I was quite the reactive character. Most things bothered me and I took everyone else’s crap on.  Always a good reason for a drink/ smoke/ hit of whatever was available. Most others that I surrounded myself with did the same. After all, I was livin’ LARGE so I thought. Working in the night life allowed for all the free booze and drugs that one could handle on a daily basis.

The only time I really held back was when I had either band practice or a show to play. I took it “easy” by just smoking a little marijuana out of a pipe. After the gig, it was off to the races. There were a few friends who didn’t take things to the extent that I did. “I didn’t think you had a problem” one friend recently told me. “That’s because you went home at 1 am,” I told him. It was rare that I went to sleep or more appropriately “crashed” earlier than 4 am, not to mention the 2 day benders..

Exciting ! I know!! Ugghh .. It’s exhausting to even think back to that, but those were the actual traditions/ habits that made up my culture for years before my journey into recovery started.

Now, in recovery, I do my best to get up before 7am. Most days I start off my day with a glass of lemon water. I am mindful of what I put into my body and my health. I have worked through the skeletons in my closet so that I don’t spend much time dancing with them and taking on other people’s stuff anymore. I am picky about who I spend my time with and maintain my boundaries when i’m in a situation that I don’t feel comfortable in. Most others around me are doing positive things with their lives and I don’t participate in any gossip or negative banter-type conversations. A new and improved attitude and outlook on life has served me best.

What might this look like for you? It might take a while before you can have a completely new “clean slate” to work from. Meanwhile, what can you do? What are the OBVIOUS things that you WANT to address? Who are the new faces you will find yourself around? Have you been able to explore new places and activities to spend your time? There are multiple recovery related activities that just may be happening in a town near you! Recovery support groups of all kinds often have related events: BBQ’s, sports/team activities, arts/music.. There are recovery cafes, schools, coalitions, dances, gyms, yoga, and so on and so on.. Seeking out others also in recovery can be helpful and supply you with different perspectives on life as well. You’ll likely end up finding yourself taking on fresh new attitudes towards things and enjoying yourself a little more as time goes by.

I like to think of this as a journey and can only compare me to yesterday’s me. Am I better than I was yesterday, last week, last month, last year… oh yeah! I am Grateful to this universe we inhabit today, largely because of the countering of my own culture and creating a new one. You too can create your own “Counter Culture”!

If this article has shed some light for yourself, please leave a comment below. If it may be helpful to a friend or loved one, please share and like us on Facebook. Love Life Today. THiS ReCoVeRY LiFE.


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