I hope this helps at least one person…
My life was a wreck from Day One. I was given every opportunity to fail at every single milestone in my life.
My wealthy parents had abused drugs and alcohol for a long time. My father sold fancy exotic cars back before they had those types of dealerships. He would travel to Europe and bring back Lamborghinis and Ferraris and bulletproof limos. Who would buy those kinds of cars in Miami? Oh…well back in the 80’s I’m sure you could only imagine. At that time, it sure looked glamorous. It wasn’t so glamorous to see my father getting pulled out of the closet by the cops and having an entire SWAT team surround the circumference of our home at the age of 6. It wasn’t so nice not having food in my pantry or coming home to my mother passed out, unable to wake up. So, I saw the good, the bad, and the ugly of this disease. Seeing this, one would only think a child would go in the complete opposite direction, but I didn’t. I tried! I tried every good stinking effort along the way. I played sports, I tried to go to college and I even joined the military. Nothing really tamed me… nothing. I was a thrill seeker and adrenaline junkie and it caused me many years of pain. I always had the best of intentions and somehow, I always got the same result. I know this all may sound vague, but I’m 40 years old and if I go into every experience, this will be a very long book! Unfortunately for me, I just had to have enough experiences until I ran out of “why” excuses….
Why I couldn’t do this, why this fell apart, why I failed here, why I got that ticket, why I lost that job…
Eventually, I couldn’t even fool myself anymore. I was the damn problem…and so was my drinking. I was left with no option but to either stop or die. And yeah, that does sound dramatic…but after suffering a stroke and 2 overdoses…I wouldn’t want to live with any more brain damage than I have already endured.
So, just like that, one day I changed. I started getting HONEST. I started accepting responsibility. I stopped making excuses. I put my head down, focused, and stopped with all the outside bullshit. I am NOT hanging out with you if you are not on my journey. I am NOT helping you if you are still in active addiction. I am not going to say “yes” when I really don’t want to – unless its regarding service work. I am standing up for myself and stopping the cycle of bad decisions and insanity…even if I have to say NO to family! I come first and without doing this I would not have picked up my one year of sobriety last month. It is HARD and it is sometimes lonely, but that is OK!!!! You must do something so very different to get on a different path. Anyone who doesn’t understand this is not your friend.
Now…. just because I decided to get sober and make all these wonderful level-headed decisions doesn’t mean my life is perfect. FAR FROM IT I TELL YOU! ***SIDE NOTE – if you understand the brain of an addict, you will know that the disease lies in your decision-making. That is the part that is different from the average “normy.” So then there is that…in your first year, it’s not best to always trust your “good judgment” all the time because that part of your brain isn’t done healing. Please don’t forget that part. For a whole year, I didn’t trust myself to make my decisions alone one bit and you really shouldn’t either. I think that’s the whole point of a sponsor and group of solid friends to bounce ideas off.
So, back to the whole life isn’t unicorns and fairy dust lol… it really isn’t. Life doesn’t get easier; you just get BETTER. Situations where you would typically get caught up, you are now able to handle and move past. I mean… I got so mad at someone last week and asked them to step outside! But then my sober brain came back, and I went over to them and made amends immediately. It just didn’t feel good inside my soul.
To wrap things up, I do a lot of things to keep my mind right and fit…. a lot. I have found that I crave a schedule, which is pretty mind-blowing, as I was never one for structure. I go to the gym almost every day. I see my kids often. I work two jobs. I go to therapy. I go to meetings occasionally. I go to church. I volunteer at church. I volunteer in several veteran’s outreach programs. If meetings aren’t your thing that is ok… but you need SOMETHING. You must work HARD for this miracle to happen…and it is exactly that. This disease kills, so what are you going to do to stop it?
Last thing I really want to add is to please…get out of “yourself” mode by going and doing something for others. My pastor once said “If you died tomorrow what would people say about you at your funeral? Were you giving and generous? Did you help others? Were you someone people could look up to?”
Now is the time to go be that person you want to be. If you are reading or hearing this story, you are already halfway there and I’m proud of you. Don’t stop now.