Beyond the Struggle

addiction recovery

I’ve been clicking around this site for weeks, wondering how I could contribute.

The browsing became a prayer of sorts. And each time I clicked that upper left corner: “That Sober Life / Beyond the Struggle” I was brought home.
One afternoon, when I should have been doing a thousand other things, it all hit me.
When I’m living in the struggle, all I see is the struggle. All I know is the bottle, the pill, the fix. I could win for a day, maybe two, but my victories meant survival; I wasn’t living.
It’s what makes addiction a phenomenon.

I spoke with an old counselor the other day that I hadn’t spoken to since our mutual friend died. This friend got sober with me, and the counselor had advised us both. I was the one who brought the news about our friend’s death. I told him how it felt really good to write about it. He got back to me the next day and said: “I do remember hearing the news now. Someone told me in January about it. The sad part is I hear this news so often, it just becomes routine.”

Death is our routine.
That summarizes the struggle. We die by our routines, our daily cravings.
We die from the delusion that we can’t get enough to cover our inadequacy.
It kills us. Often.
He went on to say, “I spoke to a parent who lost her son the other day. It’s impossible to ever handle deaths like this. If someone dies in a war, you blame the enemy. How can you blame someone who dies from their war with addiction? You love them. And the enemy that kills them is in them.”

Like war, addiction has no winners.
I’ve never experienced a person who successfully summoned the necessary force to defeat addiction by themselves. It is an elusive opponent. Its spies have already infiltrated and outflanked you.
You must surrender. You must admit that you cannot win, not alone.
But there is help. The help is everywhere. Your enemy is yourself, an army of one. But I tell you there are legions of sober folks, folks in the recovery fold, on the internet sharing hope, in dank basements at your local church.
There is an army of love waiting to lift you beyond the struggle. All you have to do is let them fight your battle, which is by no means easy.
I let them fight for me 8 and ½ years ago. Not only have I not had a drink or a drug since then, but I’ve lost the mental obsession over drugs and alcohol.
The struggle is gone.
I no longer worry when I’m going to get my next score, what I’m going to say to this person or that person, or what story I need to invent to cover my blackout-tracks.
Best of all, I now am a soldier of love for others. I help others stay sober.

If you are in the midst of a struggle with drugs and alcohol, I suggest you surrender.
Just be sure you surrender to a loving power. When soldiers surrender at war, they put their hands in the air. They await instruction. Whatever they are told to do next, they must do.
I was blessed because I surrendered in a rehab, in the company of 28 other men and counselors to point me in the right direction. They told me to join a sober living community. They told me to avoid romantic relationships in my first year. They told me to get a sponsor as soon as I could.
I did those things. I prayed to God for direction, and I was directed. I was shown the way beyond the struggle.
I surrendered to the soldiers of love.
Today I live “beyond the struggle.”

About Mark Goodson

Mark is a lover of life and writer who has been sober since 2007. He writes poetry, essays, and creative non-fiction that exalt the every day and qualify the quotidian. Find his work on the Connect with Mark on social media and join him in discovering what makes the ordinary so extraordinary, and the mundane miraculous. Twitter: Facebook: Email:


  1. ilovesaintpaul23

    Thanks for your words, Mark, as always!! Love ya, bro. – DDM

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