It sounds cliché, but every day I don’t take a drink or use drugs is an absolute miracle.
Imagine waking up every morning with the worst flu you’ve ever had in your life, compounded by crippling depression brought on by out-of-whack brain chemistry and the only way you know to temporarily make it better is to hurt the people you love most by stealing, manipulating and lying. Active addiction brings you to places that you don’t want to go, to do things that you don’t want to do. Eventually, you don’t even want to use the drugs that you are addicted to, but you cannot stop.
Addiction has always been present in my behavior, even before I ever picked up a drink or a drug. I was unable to be honest, and I thrived off sneakiness. When I finally did start using drugs it became apparent quickly that it was not just experimentation; I loved everything about it.
My drug use destroyed my loved ones. They put so many resources at my disposal, and I scoffed at them, believing that I didn’t have a problem. When I finally sought recovery, I had been living a lie for two years.
When the pain became paramount to all other interests; when the only decision I had left to make was to seek recovery or die, I chose to seek recovery.
I had some contacts from previous attempts at sobriety, and they tried to help me find detox or treatment, but I had to find somewhere to go immediately, or I was planning to shoot myself. This was the choice that addiction had given me.
I decided to go to the hospital and let them know I was suicidal. They whisked me to a detox in Philadelphia to spend the next three days under observation. While I was there, I kicked the drugs and immediately started to attend the addiction meetings they brought into the psychiatric unit. Some old sober contacts managed to pull some strings and got me into the best drug rehab in West Palm Beach.
From there I hit the ground running, I was such a broken man, and I had been devoid of personality for so long that it wasn’t hard for me to listen to suggestions. I immediately latched on to people in long-term sobriety. I called my sober supports non-stop from the moment I woke up until the moment I went to bed. I obtained a sponsor and started going through the twelve steps, which was the catalyst that helped me become a free man. While it seemed like everyone else was out having fun, spending money and hanging out with women, I was at the halfway house working on my steps and planning my next meeting.
To accurately describe how recovery feels, one must understand gratitude. If I can remain grateful for the things in my life, recovery feels great. If I start to lose that gratitude, things can go downhill quickly.
Every single day I wake up and I don’t have to feel the way I felt in active addiction, I have something to be grateful for.
The best thing about being clean and sober is the freedom I’ve gained. I never understood what freedom was. The simple freedom to go anywhere and do anything I want was absent from my life for so long. Having real relationships with the people in my life is also a blessing. My phone doesn’t stop ringing these days, and they’re all good calls. But, the thing I cherish the most is that I don’t have anyone in my life that I don’t want to be there.
Going forward I plan to continue to grow in any and every capacity; whether it be my spirituality, my personal life, my professional life, or my family life.
Progress is necessary to keep my disease at bay. That is why I got involved in addiction recovery, to continue to grow every day.