Our bodies are chemical factories. Feel happy about something, a little dopamine shower happens. Feel sad—well, you get the idea. This factory is always working and at the ready to do what factories do, which is to put out product.

So there you were, pre-addiction, and everything was working just the way it was supposed to. Then one day, the guys in the factory noticed that some chemicals were coming in from the outside. Hmmm, maybe just an isolated incident. But no, it happened again and again. Little by little, the factory workers were not needed until the day came that it was obvious their services were no longer required, so they packed up and took off.

Things were OK for you for a while since the pleasure you were seeking came whenever you decided to artificially put the chemical into your body. As time went on and on, you used chemicals not just to feel good, but to cope with life. To deal with stress. To run from reality.

To numb yourself. To not care.

After a while, things changed, and all these reasons took a backseat to a physical need so desperate that you lost the ability to choose whether or not to use. You became an addict. You actually changed the biochemistry of your brain and created neurological cravings. You changed your life, but not for the better.

It is comforting to know that cravings are common in the recovery process and very comforting to know that many addicts before you are in a lasting recovery. Cravings diminish with time. Have patience. This is not a contest. Do not compare your progress with anyone else’s.

One day at a time, one day at a time.

So what happens when you stop using? Well, the factory guys notice that the chemicals are no longer coming in from the outside and they’d better start up the factory once again. The factory cannot get up to full speed all at once, so patience is required here. There are many factors that contribute to the time it takes to heal, such as how long you were using, the substances you used, and even your own genetic makeup, all playing a part. But the factory is getting going again, and because the human body is the most incredible healing machine, things start to heal, to come back, to balance.

You don’t need any more proof than observing the repairing your body does if you cut yourself or break a bone. And even when people have surgery and the surgeons do their best work, they do not do the healing. The healing is done by you, by your body.

So restarting the factory means coming into recovery. Staying in recovery. Going to meetings. Finding a new community in those meetings. Sharing and caring with your sponsor. It means knowing, believing that you are healing and on your way to the life you deserve.

Yes, remember, recovery is about the healing of your mind, your body, and your soul. Use your fine imagination, and picture your factory up and running again, not needing any external help whatsoever. Just a fine-running machine, and it is yours.