The 2018 theme explores how integrated care, a strong community, sense of purpose, and leadership contributes to effective treatments that sustain the recovery of persons with mental and substance use disorders.

My name is Kris Brooks, I am a grateful recovering alcoholic with almost three years of sobriety within recovery. Sobriety, by itself, is a dry life with a lot of missing pieces. recover involves taking bigger steps than just putting down the (substance).

Recovery takes commitment, hard work, and a willingness to dig deep into the thoughts, ideas, and actions of your existence. In order to sustain a successful recovery, one must make complete lifestyle changes and invest in every aspect of their being.

I wouldn’t be sober today without making an investment in my health, home, purpose and community. It started with me — that was the first step. When I made the decision to enter recovery, for the first time in my life I was learning to invest in myself, and that is where the work began. The investment that you make in your health has to involve the mind, body and spirit, or else you leave stuff out that needs to be addressed. It takes a lot of work, but no one said recovery is easy, what I can say is that it’s worth it.

By investing in myself, I learned to accept myself to love myself and to work on the defects and demons that led me to drink in the first place. Although self-investment was required to start this process, it did not end there. It takes constant effort and a willingness to explore and invest in yourself always.

After learning how to invest in myself, I was able to take that same acceptance, love and support outward, into my home, purpose and community. What stands out to me the most about this investment, is seeing how much it has paid off almost three years later.

I will not speak to what was wrong, or the struggle of creating a new life from rock bottom; I will share how much my investment paid off due to my strong community sense of purpose, and leadership roles. I had the opportunity to become heavily involved in my recovery community, finding service work, connection, and support from the early stages. Without that involvement I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Recovery gave me a purpose, it created opportunities for me that I never dreamed would be possible. It gave me a community of support that I never knew existed. I continue to invest in that community daily, as it invests in me. I now have the privilege of being a leader within that space, and within the recovery world. I have the honor of leading by example, and through attraction, a life worth living.

Today, I am grateful for every hurdle life has shown me, because I know I am not alone. I know I have the chance to help someone else by being a voice of recovery and showing up for something greater than myself.

For further information about ASAP, call (910) 907-5408 or (910) 396-6067.

Kris Brooks is the daughter of retired Command Sgt. Maj. Jim Tomlinson, an Army Substance Abuse Instructor at the Fort Bragg Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP).