Today I work as a counselor in the treatment community; I have the honor and privilege of working with those who were affected as I once was. I am part of my community, a part of my family, and a whole-hearted person for the first time in my life. I will be forever grateful for the care and service I received from those who I met during my time in treatment and early recovery. I carry their message of hope and purpose to the best of my ability each day.

I often think back to that day, which was years ago now, when my family offered me that final plea. I thought my life was over, but it turned out it was just beginning.

In my mind when I was about to turn thirty I believed my life was over. I thought this because at this point I had given up on having any kind of future. I had done so much wrong and caused so much damage, that I could not imagine I would be able to find peace let alone to be happy. I promised my family time and time again that I would change, that I would find a way to make up for all the times I hurt them or caused them any worry.  Despite my desire to follow through with those promises, something held me back from fulfilling them. What was holding me back was my disease. My disease would tell me I would never be good enough, and the only solace I found at this point was to be in a constant state of inebriation.

In a final plea, my family came to me and asked me what I was going to do about my disease. In hindsight, I replied with the smartest thing I had ever said, “I don’t know.”

At the insistence of my family I checked into rehab. When I arrived, they assured me that the path to peace was paved with many hardships. Although hardships lied ahead, the staff assured me that I would not make this journey alone. At rehab, I was cared for, encouraged, and was given the framework to build a life in recovery. As was suggested to me, I pursued long-term treatment through a halfway house, and I relocated to a different county. While at the halfway house I learned many things about the recovery community, practiced their lessons and principles, and ultimately found my calling.

Ninety days into my journey my father passed away after a lengthy battle with a physical illness. My greatest fear was now realized, that he would die and I would not be there. Something miraculous happened after my father’s passing; when I had no strength the recovery community lent me theirs. They gave me the support I needed to return home to my family and share in their grief, and to ultimately make amends to my father by speaking at his funeral.

This is why I am sharing my story. In the following years I have constructed a life where I am truly happy, which was built on a foundation of gratitude and service. I have mended fences, learned to be healthy, and found a purpose so meaningful that it fills my heart with joy.

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