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Recovery Community Centers Offer Good Soil for a Place to Grow
Written by Leslie Clark

You don’t get over addiction by stopping using, you get over addiction by creating a new life

Recovery is a life-long journey of learning and growing.

In early recovery, the focus is on getting through the first days, weeks, and months of not using. Our brains and bodies begin to heal. We do hard work to address the pain that brought us to addiction, and the pain we caused others.

The light comes back into our eyes. Some of us experience what is referred to as the “pink cloud” where our newfound freedom from substances feels heady and even exhilarating.

Now what? New patterns and engaging in the community take time—a lifetime.

When I first came into recovery, I didn’t understand why there were still people coming to support meetings after twenty years. I thought, “they need to get a life!”

Yet here I am after more than 30 years, still around and still learning and growing. In recovery, we are able to become the people we were always meant to be.

Addiction robbed us of our connection with our truest selves, but now we discover new interests, or rediscover ones we’d lost along the way. We learn to write poetry, lift weights, take a guitar class, or plant a garden. We become curious about others, how things work, and the world around us.

Our curiosity leads us to new adventures and connections with others. Seven years ago, I literally “found my voice” when I began singing with others and recording on my own. In singing, I find joy and I am my best self. This is one of many gifts I’ve received by being a person in recovery.

Whether you are 19 or 90 years old, the community supports your discovery of your true self.

Recovery is so much more than not using.

It is about creating our best lives.

Over a lifetime.

Leslie Clark

Leslie Clark

Leslie M. Clark, MSW serves as executive director of Portland Recovery Community Center (PRCC). Leslie speaks openly as a person in long-term recovery to help reduce stigma and advocate for resources and effective public policy.