Alison's Insights

Making Sense of Addiction Recovery in Midlife One Slow Deep Breath at a Time

If I Knew Then What I Know Now

Countless times I’ve thought these words. Countless times I’ve said them in frustration.

Yet here’s the truth about not knowing then what I know now … if I could have, I would have, but I couldn’t.

I couldn’t because I struggled to see life through a clear lens.  My inner vision was distorted even though my eyesight was keen.  Yes, for a good portion of the time I was in a state of struggle between either drinking too much or eating sporadically (or both).  But from a much wider angle, I did not perceive life as did those around me.  If I had … well, you know the rest.

In this past decade I’ve come to realize the passage from “then” to “now” is what recovery is all about. It’s a process.

Early on I honestly couldn’t stand it when people would tell me, “Recovery takes time Alison, it’s a process.”  I wanted nothing to do a process to understand, acknowledge and accept things about me I didn’t want to understand, acknowledge or accept at all.  Actually, I tried revolting against that whole idea by trying to push it along. I’d do just about anything to talk my way out of doing the hard stuff recovery requires.

Big mistake.

I’ve learned, though a lot of frustration, I cannot fast forward through recovery. Why? Because it is within the process I was able to uncover what led doing what I did back “then.”

Yes, if I had known then what I know now my life might have been different.

Maybe, but I’ll never know.

However one thing is for certain. If it weren’t for what I didn’t know then, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Today I can peacefully listen and be supportive to someone who might not believe it’s possible to get from “then” to “now.”

Today I can tell them it is indeed possible if you’re willing to uncover now the things you didn’t know then.



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