Alison's Insights

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

Life is Not a Dress Rehearsal

I got the call I knew I would and hoped I wouldn’t.

Relapse has two outcomes; a return to a recovery community for recalibration or further destruction of a life that once made sense.

I cannot un-see the sadness in the eyes of children left behind. I cannot un-hear a long-awaited exhale from a husband who left no stone unturned in an effort to support a wife after multiple tumbles down the staircase of alcoholic destruction. I cannot un-feel the mixture of emotion that exploded by the words, “she was found dead last night.”

On bended knee, my tears fell onto hands clasped in prayer. That could have been me.


That could have been me if I hadn’t paid attention to suggestions offered by people whose footsteps I follow on the path of recovery. That could have been me if I hadn’t put everything else second to the priority of recovery. That could have been me if I hadn’t taken the action necessary to rip that mask of deception off and reveal my authentic self.

I’m smart enough to know that still could be me if I try convincing myself that I don’t need to keep doing what I’ve done to get where I am.

The consequences of addiction are shocking only for those who don’t bear witness to what happens when someone offers a testament to what happened when that “one time” turned into many more.

This life is not a dress rehearsal. We don’t get a do-over once the body shuts down and the funeral ceremony begins.

Phone calls matter. Quiet time is crucial. Being of service to others is a must.

I cannot do any of this alone. I cannot rely on silent conversations with myself for answers to problems that keep me stuck. If I do, there’s a strong possibility that one drink or lack of proper nutrition becomes my solution. From there, I dare not consider what could happen. I’m not willing to take that chance.

Today I step forward as if this is opening night. I’ll suit up and show up for what keeps me on the path of healthy recovery. My hand extends to others who extend theirs to me. Together we can take a bow in gratitude for another day well lived.

Tomorrow, I hope to experience opening night all over again.

A Moment to Breathe

What are you afraid to say out loud? What stories are you telling yourself that keeps you from an honest connection with others? Take a moment and consider what might happen if you heard someone say, “I feel and think that way too.” Remember, as much as you may think you are, you aren’t alone. Want proof? Take a deep breath, gather that courage you’ve long doubted, and ask someone for a few minutes. That’s when you’ll experience the opening night of the rest of your life. 

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I’d love your thoughts about what I wrote or, why not share this post with those thoughts via your favorite social media.

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4 thoughts on “Life is Not a Dress Rehearsal

  1. Claudia Donohue on said:

    Alison, that was one of your most beautiful posts though it covers such tragedy. Everyone in & out of recovery should read this. Thank you for your heart felt thoughts.

  2. Sandra on said:

    I’ve just left recovery because I’m over AA .
    I to have eating issues and a Alcoholic.
    Is it ok to leave AA and not drink . And be the best I can be ! What’s your thoughts.

    • Hi Sandra! Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I commend you for the courage you gathered to ask for help with where you are in your recovery. Remember, the important things are that you don’t take that first drink that you make healthy choices to fuel your body. Recovery must be our number one priority. Now, whether you engage in a 12-Step program or not is, of course, up to you however what I know for sure is, we all need a community. Recovery is a mutual-help, not self-help program. This is true whether the unhealthy thoughts/behaviors are associated with food, booze, drugs, shopping, gambling, sex, or any other form of an emotional escape. Please keep coming back here for more insight and encouragement.

  3. Steven on said:

    Thank you for your blog
    I have received a phone call in the middle of the night telling of the loss of a loved one.
    The recriminations of “ What could I done to help them”, “ I could have saved them” , “ why Didn’t they call me “?. These questions Haunt us for years . When you wake up and They are just not there anymore. No you can’t talk to them , there is No Answer to anything.
    Yes people do recover , yes people do relapse, yes people do live and die. All we can do is our very best and tell our struggling family or friends that we are there for them . Now and always
    Steve Mandel

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