Addiction is cunning, baffling and powerful, but there is always hope.
As far back as I can remember, I struggled with loneliness and a lack of self-worth. Alcoholism runs in my family yet; somehow, I never felt like I fit in. People drink and do drugs for many reasons: to change the way they feel, to cope with mental illnesses or to escape the past. But at the end of the day, there is never just one reason. My experience is the same. I can’t blame my addiction on just one thing, but I do know that the disease is not a simple lack of willpower.
The day I finally surrendered at an alcohol rehab in Florida, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. That was the day that my life changed. After years of being unavailable to my spouse and children, both emotionally and physically, I was finally ready to make a change and free myself from the slavery of denial. That single decision saved me from a lifetime of misery and unhappiness. It sounds backward, but addiction is the only fight you have to surrender to win
To me, recovery is unconditional freedom and belonging.
Getting clean and sober helped me realize that I am not a bad person. I have a disease that tells me I don’t have a disease, and it does not allow me to drink without severe consequences. Once I accepted that fact I was able to forge ahead and create a new life that is second to none.
If you go to meetings, get a sponsor and don’t pick up a drink, things will get better. Finding a support network helped me get out of my head and start to enjoy the process. Recovery isn’t always easy, but it’s simple if you follow suggestions. And like anything else, you get as much out of it as you put into it.
As long as I am vigilant about recovery, the sky is the limit.
After 26 years of continuous sobriety, I can earnestly say that my life has never been better. I get the opportunity to help people find their way to the miracle that is recovery. I am proud of the relationship that I have with my family, and I lead by the power of example.
If someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, reach out and be the helping hand that they need. Always remember that addiction has nothing to do with a lack of willpower, they are suffering from a disease that they cannot cure themselves. There is always hope, and there is always help if they choose to accept it.