Arrested in Recovery

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Arrested in Recovery

Hey friends, Carlee here. I’ve been doing some reflecting on how I have changed and grown up in recovery. Not only have I been able to put down the drugs and alcohol, but my behaviors have also been transformed.

I don’t share this story often, but I feel the need to speak about how even though I am a person in recovery, there are parts of me that are still sick – and it’s okay to make mistakes. It seems as though, as people in recovery, we tend to set unrealistic expectations on ourselves (such as having to be the “perfect recovering addict.”) We don’t have to be perfect.

So the story…

It was right around two years clean that I started shoplifting. I got away with it the first time so I decided to do it again and again for the next few months. I had a whole system put in place and treated it very seriously. The rush that I experienced was similar to that of using a substance. I felt almost proud of this bad behavior and thought I would never get caught. Stealing clothes, jewelry, and beauty products became my habit for about six months.

I was finally arrested on July 19, 2016. I will never forget that day. I remember feeling super embarrassed and ashamed. “How did I get here,” I asked myself. As the police officer handcuffed me and escorted me to his car, I began to cry. I thought about how I wish I never went to the store that day, or if only I stole less items maybe they wouldn’t have caught me. My mind was racing and I knew what I had done was wrong.

After I was taken to police headquarters, they released me and brought me back to my car. I told the officer that I was in recovery and he suggested that I get to a meeting as soon as possible. I thanked him and went directly to a meeting. I cried as I shared about what I had just experienced. I also told on myself and asked others in the meeting for some experience, strength and hope. Feeling guilt and complete shame, I was embraced with hugs from fellow members in recovery and was told that I am still growing and learning how to be the best “Carlee” I can be. Those words helped me tremendously.

Today, I can honestly say that I haven’t shoplifted since July 19, 2016. It hasn’t always been easy but it is totally worth not being handcuffed in the back of a cop car. I still make mistakes in recovery, but the important thing is that I learn from them and try to do better the next time.

To anyone who might be going through a similar situation, I hope that behavior changes for you and I am more than happy to walk this journey with you. I couldn’t always change my behaviors on my own. I needed a supportive community around me to help guide and encourage my new way of life.

Take care everyone.