Meet my friend, Nikki. Tired of being an addict, Nikki tried a different route: She became sober. And not only has she become sober, she is now working at a recovery center, where she is building a safe space and peer-to-peer support for people in all stages of their recovery.

Nikki has recently posted two short discussions about this disease. With her permission, I am sharing her stories with you.

The first has to do with what the disease of addiction is. Those of us who have not experienced it can never truly understand the feeling of rescuing our soul from a personal hell.

Here’s what she said:

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I had an awakening conversation the other day with another person in recovery from the disease of addiction. We were talking about how hard it is to explain this disease to people who don’t have it because we ourselves have a hard time understanding it. What other disease out there has people doing things that go against their morals, self sabotaging, destroying their bodies, and emotionally hurting their lives? And we came to the conclusion the disease of addiction is a disease that lives on the soul. And what’s more complex then trying to understand the human soul? So in my eyes trying to understand addiction is trying to understand our souls. It’s not just a physical or mental condition. It’s something found on a spiritual level. So when people go on the path of recovery they are literally rescuing their souls from a personal hell. We don’t have a drug or treatment to cure us like most diseases. We have to dig up every single moral fiber in our body, heart, and mind, look it square in the eye and find out we are worthy of love.

So when we talk about the disease of addiction and recovery we are actually talking about soul healing. Keep that in mind next time you judge an addict. The depths of their recovery is far deeper then most people will ever have to work for. And that’s true power.

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In Nikki’s second post (dated July 24), Nikki posted about the anniversary of her sobriety, and what it means to her:

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Today I am…

Two years clean and sober.Sobriety has lifted me, transformed my soul, and made me recognize every human and living creature on this planet is worthy of love.

In two years I’ve learnt the value of boundaries, loyalty, compassion, being a good friend to women (which I was not by any means prior to sobriety), being a loving sister and daughter.The most important thing I have learnt, which spills over to every part of my life, is that I am worthy, and I am enough. No outside force on this planet is going to provide me with self acceptance. No outside force will give me the validation as a woman that will fill the void us addicts feel. No bottle of alcohol or bottle of pills will make me feel whole. My wholeness comes from constant and daily work of radical acceptance. I no longer chase perfection. I’m not perfect nor do I need to be. What I am is perfectly unique and that’s what the world needs most of me, my genuine being. People suffering with the disease of addiction, in my eyes, tend to be the most beautiful, loving, and tender souls. They are so tender, and the world can be so cruel, they want to numb the pain. But when the world is in the state it’s in, what’s needed most are those tender and loving souls. In my eyes, those walking around with the disease of addiction could be our saving grace.

To begin and continue recovery means to help heal this entire planet. So if you are reading this and you are doubting if you are worthy of recovery, please know you are. What you have inside, though you may not see it and feel it yet, is exactly what the world needs.

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I wish the best of luck to this brave young woman, who has not yet turned 30. She is incredible. And she knows that everyone is worthy of recovery. It might not be easy, but it can be done. She will be there to help as many people as possible with their recovery.

I just wish we could clone Nikki. Because we need a lot more people like her.

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with substance use, please reach out for help at the NH Statewide Addiction Crisis Line: 1-844-711-HELP.