Today marks 30 years of being clean and sober. Recently, I have been struggling to maintain my sobriety; I guess it’s hard to wrap my head around 30 years. It seems like such a long time. Shouldn’t I have attained some type of enlightenment by now? So many of the people I interact with regularly weren’t even born or were very young when I first got clean. None of my other anniversaries have really hit me like this one.
I was barely 24, and pretty sure I wouldn’t live to see 25. Frankly, at this point, I didn’t really want to live anyway. My drinking and drug use had been out of control for years. It was better “living through chemistry,” until there was nothing better about it. Nothing was fun for me anymore, or even remotely good. I was emotionally and physically wrecked. Everything I cared about I had pushed away. The depths of my depravity and self-loathing knew no bounds. I’d like to say that I saw the light and sought help, but the truth is, I felt the heat and had run out of options.
This is why I am sharing my story. Today, I humbly thank all the gods in all the universes that ever were, or are, or will be for setting the stage for me like that. That’s what it took to get me into treatment. That’s what it took to learn to walk down a different street, to follow a path with my heart.
So, I haven’t yet attained the enlightenment, or “ah-ha” moment everyone else seems to have; but, I know that I can’t do this alone. If I left things to myself, I’d be dead, not clean and sober. I’ve learned to be incredibly thankful for the people in my life, no matter the role they play. I’ve learned more often than not, life is not on your terms; even when those terms seriously suck. I can handle it without having to pick up a drug or drink. I’ve learned not to take myself too seriously, certainly, no one around me does. I do my best to come to each day from a place of loving kindness, compassion, and generosity. Most importantly, I’ve learned to be kinder to myself. The more loving kindness I give myself, the more compassion I show to myself and others. Love breeds love, you keep love by giving it away. How did I not know this before? How do we in a world where our leaders don’t seem to know this? Today marks 30 years clean and sober. I am incredibly humbled and incredibly grateful.