Profiles in Recovery

Thomas Tompkins

Genuine personal growth is possible in recovery – and Tompkins is proof.

Five years ago, he was facing DWI charges, constantly missing work days and cowering in a tiny, dark apartment – surrounded by cigarettes and pills and empty bottles of booze.

Now five years sober, Tompkins looks outward to fill his days with meaning. “I found my purpose is that when life is good, help others. When it’s not so good, help others,” says Tompkins, who works today as a mentor and certified recovery coach. “My purpose is to live in that love that is within us all – and shine it on others.”

At my worst:
I didn’t want to leave my apartment unless I had a drink or drug in me . . . I felt like I was living in my own world of delusion and darkness.

What worked for me:
After getting the DWI, I was sent to outpatient treatment and started to attend a self-help group and have been sober ever since. Peer-to-peer services – along with doctors and spiritual advisors – helped me pull through. The beginning was not easy as I didn’t want it, but after awhile of abstinence, I started to enjoy sobriety.

Favorite recovery quote:
“If we don’t take care of our stuff, our stuff will take care of us”

Stigma I faced:
I’ve been called a bum, an addict, useless, sick . . . I no longer choose to live that lifestyle, but I really mind my own business and don’t worry too much about the stigma. I’m happy and I try to help others around me. That’s all that matters.

Best advice for newbies:
Be patient. We can’t spend all this time drinking and using and expecting sobriety yesterday. It is a process and a lifestyle that we must surrender to and work at. There are ups and downs but after a period of time, we get more ups then down. Don’t ever give up on your recovery.

When cravings come:
I play the tape through – fast-forwarding to 4 a.m. where I’m a disaster and putting my life on the line.

Rules I live by:
Love everyone, serve everyone, remember God.

What I value most in recovery:
I have my family back in my life and they can trust me. I have very positive relationships with new friends. I also value my connection with my higher power, which enriches my spirituality.

On my schedule today:
I typically like to chant going to work, do a little bit of meditation in the morning. I work as a recovery coach helping people in early recovery. I then go to a self-help group and after that, I go to the gym.

What I learned about myself:
That I was living in fear and used to cover the anxiety and depression to ease the symptoms. I know today I have to look within and find out who I really am. And what I really am is love. Can’t buy it, can’t give it to anyone, can’t get it from anyone. We must search within to find out what is going on and to reach that place of love so that it may be shined onto others.

What saves me from myself:
Doing meditation, connecting to my higher power on a daily basis, and not thinking of myself so often.

I get inspired by:
Seeing people change. And seeing the growth in myself. People making it 90 days, one year – it’s just amazing how lives can change.

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