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Celebrating Our Gifts of Recovery

By Heather Venegas


November is Gratitude Month – and I try to practice gratitude every day.


It wasn’t always that way. I’ve been to treatment at least 7 times since I was 23. Substance use caused me to let go of all of the dreams for my life and the values I held dear. Active addiction was the opposite of gratitude – it robbed me of my ability to celebrate the positive things in my life.


The last time I put narcotics in my body was in April of 1994. Following an intervention, I was flown to my childhood home in California, where I decided to choose life and entered long-term treatment. It hasn’t always been easy, but I’m proud to say I celebrated 27 years in recovery last May.


Recovery has given me so much to be grateful for:

  • The gift of a safe home to sleep in.

  • The gift of a 17-year-old daughter, who has never seen her mother under the influence.

  • The gift of friends and family who accept and love me for who I am, and a job that gives me the opportunity to help others on a daily basis.

Just like others in recovery, I begin each day with the freedom to choose. Gratitude’s amazing powers have given me the ability to appreciate the blessings in my life. So to celebrate Gratitude Month, I asked a few friends and colleagues in the recovery community to share their gifts of recovery:


Recovery is a gift stronger and bolder than any other. The power and the courage to say I am, who I am without drugs or alcohol, is a higher state of being than anyone could know who has not experienced it.” – B.F.


These stories are just the tip of the iceberg. Through my work at KCRC, I hear every day from people celebrating milestones large and small thanks to recovery. Recovery is possible, for each and every one of us. We DO Recover!


What has recovery given you? Show us your #GiftsOfRecovery before the New Year! You can put a holiday bow on it in real life, or use our Gifts of Recovery Facebook cover photo (see the top of our profile), or both! Make sure you use the hashtag (#GiftsOfRecovery)and/or tag the Washington Recovery Alliance and King County Recovery Coalition in your photo so we can see it. We can’t wait to celebrate Gratitude Month with you!

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