As a recovering addict myself (with 23 years “clean and sober,” thanks to working a program of recovery in my life each day), I’m sometimes inspired to reflect upon the gifts I’ve gotten since “putting down the dope and picking up hope.”
Mind you, I don’t take for granted there are countless blessings I‘ve received… but in hindsight, I believe the “gift of time” is what I treasure most.
1) Before getting into recovery, I literally was enslaved to the disease of addiction, and so was my time. Throughout all my waking moments, I was compelled to drink and drug. I could totally relate to the saying: “Our whole life and thinking was centered in drugs in one form or another, the getting and using and finding ways and means to get more.” In other words, all of my time was locked up in the pursuit of getting intoxicated. So when I got into recovery and began practicing what was suggested by those who had both expertise and experience in the fields of addiction treatment and recovery, I soon gained my freedom back: freedom from the horrible prison of my obsessive-compulsive substance use disorder, and freedom to “spend my time” the way my heart and soul wanted to spend it. This liberating gift that recovery gave me allowed me to use my time as I chose to use it, which leads me to Gift #2.
2) Once I’d gotten released from the clutches of addiction and had the ability to choose how to spend my time, I took the suggestions of my “main recovery peeps” and quickly started navigating my way toward restoring my health, self-worth and well-being. I began regularly going to a medical doctor and a dentist to address a variety of “problems” I’d had, but ignored when I’d been in active addiction. I saw counselors and therapists, as well, to begin healing up from some of the past traumas I’d experienced. Those sessions greatly improved my self-esteem and contributed to me having substantially more “sanity and serenity” in my life. That is, spending time with professionals in the fields of medicine and psychology gave me gifts that have kept on giving… and this leads me to Gift #3.
3) Quite significantly, being free to choose how I spent my time gave me the ability to rebuild my life and pursue my dreams. Prior to finding recovery, I’d “lost everything” (a common refrain amongst those of us who’ve ‘hit bottom’) in my ongoing need to quench my thirst for more alcohol and drugs. But once I’d established a foundation in recovery (with the help of addiction treatment counselors and therapists, my 12 Steps sponsor and others in my recovery network), I learned how to begin putting the pieces in place to start moving in the direction of fulfilling lifelong dreams I’d held, which for me included going back to school, getting a new career, buying a new car and eventually purchasing a house (something I’d never done before). And as these dreams began coming true, I became ever so much more grateful for the choices about what I wanted to do with my time that recovery had given me.
Frankly, these are just a few of the reasons I feel “time” has been the biggest gift recovery has given me… there are many more! But I hope you can find some resonance with the examples provided here, so you feel duly inspired to step forward in your recovery, grateful for the time you now have to choose differently and live differently than you have in the past.
 Narcotics Anonymous Basic Text. 6th Edition. N.A. World Service Office. 2007.