Profiles in Recovery
Diana Dubbs


Recovery Date: 10/21/13

Diana Dubbs advice to her younger self is “You aren’t alone.  Speak up and tell someone how you are feeling.  Other people identify with you and you don’t have to do anything on your own.”

Like many struggling with an addiction, she says she hated the person she saw in the mirror, she even covered all of the mirrors in her apartment so she didn’t have to look at herself.

Diana was one of the many thousands with an opioid addiction. During her peak, her addiction drove her to steal money and belongings from friends to try and support her habit. She was sought by the police, and lost jobs, homes and her sense of self-worth. “I could not support myself and my habit, so I began to live a life that required the bare minimum for survival. I lost my friends and family, I lost jobs, homes, personal items, my self-esteem and most of all, my dignity.”  

Her path to sobriety was through 32 days of inpatient treatment and immersion in a 12-step recovery program. She moved back home and changed her surroundings and started over. She built a strong support team of women in sobriety.

Today she’s harnessed the skills she learned in her early recovery to help others. She is the regional outreach director for an outpatient addiction treatment center. She’s leading a healthy and sober life — balanced and accountable in all aspects of her life. Happy and fulfilled embracing her humanity.

I First Realized I Had a Problem When:
In the purest form, my life became unmanageable.  Nothing about me was real or true.  Everything was hidden and a secret.  I was a complete alternate version of myself.

New Year and Setting Goals:
This year, I have had to deal with a great deal of “life on life’s terms”. And through an amazing journey of many ups and downs, I realized that there is never a moment where picking up a drink or a drug would make anything better. I am not a perfect person and I have learned that sobriety is a marathon not a race. I have shared many times over this last year that I felt like although I haven’t picked up a drink or a drug in 5 years, I haven’t felt as sober as I do today because I have never had to work as hard on my personal defects and how I interact with others as I have this year.

I have learned that it is important to adjust your recovery to what’s going on in your life. And what worked yesterday may not work today. And where you found your Higher Power this morning may not be in the same place as in the evening. Things change, we need to be flexible. Growth is hard but worth it!

Advice to Others Seeking Sobriety:
You don’t have to live like this anymore. It’s easy to be stuck down the rabbit hole and think there’s no way out. Asking for help is one of the most weight lifting and terrifying things all at once. But so worth it if you are willing to work at it.

What Helped Me the Most?
I remember clearly sitting in the auditorium of the treatment center I went to and the Spiritual Director saying, “We are going to love you until you love yourself.” I still repeat those words to other people today. Another one that is imbedded in me is: ” I may not know you, but I love you because we suffer from the same disease.” I think it’s important that we always remember who we were.

Sobriety and Perfectionism:
Perfectionism will always be a defect I struggle with. It doesn’t matter how many years of sobriety I have or knowledge under my belt, or how many Big Book meetings I attend, I still hear “you aren’t good enough” in my own voice in my head more often than not. A lot of times I overcompensate and try to be the “perfect” mom, or “perfect” wife, or “perfect” anything…and when I do, I usually fail. It’s when I accept that I am human, and I am who I am is when everything seems easier in life.

What Works for Me Now?
Today I have friends. I have a program of recovery that me provides with a blueprint for life…a guideline. I don’t always follow it but I can now see where I go wrong when I don’t! And most of all I have a true higher power. A God of my understanding and an AMAZING and supportive family who is always there for me.

How Has My Life Changed?
I cannot even describe the change that has taken place. Since I got sober 5 years ago, I am married to “my person” with 2 beautiful little boys-who are my entire life! I say my husband is my person because there is no other person who could possibly understand how to live with the crazy that I can be at times. I get the privilege of helping people every day, because it keeps me green and reminds me why I stay sober. I, by no means, have all the material things. We struggle with life often, but I never imagined to be in this place today.

On My Gratitude List:
I am so blessed to have gotten to live two lives in my lifetime. One, a drug addict and alcoholic that never believed she would ever amount to anything and would always live in the shadows of what she should be. The other a strong, sober woman who is human.

Early in recovery, I got married and pregnant. And my sponsor at the time asked me to identify myself and I kept saying “I am wife and a mother.” In my head, it was so amazing to not be a drug addict that being those things made me feel validated.

She threw it back at me and said, “How about just being human?” I didn’t know what she meant. This year, I learned what she meant. I am grateful that I am a wife. I am grateful that I am a mother. I am grateful that I am a daughter and a sister and an aunt. I am grateful I am a friend and an employee. But I am blessed that I am an imperfect human that has experiences to be able to share. Today, I have something to offer people. I never believed anyone would ever want what I would have.

Simple Pleasures Once Overlooked:
My best moments are spent with my boys getting hugs and kisses for simply being their mama.

I will never forget this story. I was about a week into treatment. And I sat through this amazing chapel service at the center where I went. I was still sick from detox and honestly full of shame and regret. And this guy stands up to share. He was an alumnus of the program returning with a year sober. He was talking about how amazing his life was. How something as simple as eating a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup brought him this immense amount of joy. I had no clue what he was talking about. But today, I get it. We completely take everything for granted when we are out there using. We expect life to be at our disposal. But today, the smallest things are just really so unexpectedly amazing if you are willing to be open to them.

Shed the Stigma:
If you’re a person in long-term recovery who wants to share your insights, please contact us at [email protected].


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