I come from a family where addiction runs rampant. My grandparents, aunts, and uncles on both sides of my family died from alcoholism; as well as my mother who passed. Most people in my family did not live past the age of fifty.
Just like them, I became addicted at an early age to drugs and alcohol. Many times, I wanted and tried to quit, but I could not get past a few days without using. My life was hopeless and headed in the same dangerous direction of my family. I thought there was no way I could avoid an early death.
However, I was presented with an opportunity to get away from my toxic surroundings. I moved away from my toxic environment and was given the tools I needed to understand my addiction; as well as being given the support I needed to succeed. I tried and failed a few times, but eventually the willingness to succeed took hold. With the help of peer support groups, I worked on my recovery daily and learned to take one day at a time. I learned to enjoy the journey instead of trying to speed through it. By doing this I managed to obtain eleven years of sobriety, and I became successful in the business world.
But I slipped up, I took my sobriety for granted and stopped working on my recovery. I eventually went back to drugs and alcohol. The chaos came back quickly; I thought I could handle it, but I lost control from the first time I used.
Within months I lost everything that I gained over the previous 11 years. I couldn’t stop; hopelessness hit me again. I truly believed I would never be sober again.
I tried to do it “my way,” which never worked. One day I surrendered; I gave up and went to detox. I struggled daily with the pain of wanting to use, but I didn’t pick it back up. I knew the cravings would come, but if I didn’t pick up the pain would subside.
Eventually the pain went away. I learned I needed to surrender my will daily and seek advice from others. I began to put people in my life that I knew I could trust to give me solid advice; people that had their own success in recovery. I sought their advice and I followed it, even if my instincts told me to do the opposite.
It took a full year of meetings and working on my recovery before I felt that I could trust my thoughts. I learned that to trust in the “we” of the program, I had to trust in the collective advice from others. Every life changing event that I considered I discussed with my peers in the program.
This is why I am sharing my story. Today I have a little over seven and a half years of sobriety. I still see my best ideas are not what is best for myself and my sobriety. Today I don’t take my sobriety for granted, I surrender my will daily, I seek comfort in my spiritual higher power, and I continue to go to recovery meetings. Through these daily activities I have balance, peace, and happiness.