Someone asked me recently, what does sobriety give me? My answer, everything – and that’s the honest truth. I’m entirely convinced that I would have died if it were not for the gift of sobriety that was given to me.
I will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. No matter how far down the scale I have gone, I will see how our experience can benefit others.
I can’t believe it, four years ago today was the day I decided to quit drinking and drugging. Today is the most important day in my entire year because it reminds me of what it was like before and how far I’ve come. What was I realistically thinking, quitting on July 4th? This used to be THE day for partying! And what the hell, I was only 20 years old – I had never even enjoyed a legal drink yet! It seemed as if the odds were stacked against me, but I guess someone up there had bigger plans for me than me continuing to drive my life down the drain. As I look back over the past several years I can honestly say that there has been quite a bit of growth, some slower and some quicker. I’m the type of guy that likes to make every mistake possible, put myself through enough emotional distress until it physically hurts, and learn the hard way. That’s how I’ve always been, even with getting sober. It took me two years of trying to quit before I quit, and almost another year after quitting before the obsession was relieved from me.
I am going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. I will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
Before getting sober I imagined life being mundane and I asked myself, “How could I ever have fun, party, or do anything without drinking?” Clearly at that point I was not ready for sobriety. I needed to get sober, but I didn’t want it, and quickly there afterward my life began to dwindle down. I vividly remember the good times and how it transitioned into becoming worse and worse. My best friend became my enemy and it eventually lead to a place where I was in complete and utter addiction. Every single time I used it was horrible, leading on for days and days before I could get any rest. Literally every time I used, something bad would happen – sometimes worse than others. Near the end I had several cases pending and ended up with one final case that woke me up out of the self-induced fog. I was completely unhappy, I knew a loneliness like no other. I could not survive with a drink, or without a drink; I had no option. At that point, for no motive or reason, I decided to get sober.
Sobriety has gifted me with some of the most amazing things, I remember the first couple months I was literally locked in my house pending court cases. I was completely convinced that I was going to jail, and my life had already been completely controlled by the legal system, but I still continued on my mission for sobriety. I remember the final day in front of the judge where I was released of the bondage of my house arrest. I remember how I used to think it was some sort of curse, but looking back – I’m even grateful for those times, as I wonder if I could have even stayed sober if I could have left my house. Nowadays, I have the freedom to go wherever I want without fear of drink or drug. I’m able to maneuver throughout any environment, and when the thought of a drink or a drug enters my mind I recoil from it like a hot flame. I now know a new happiness, a happiness that I have never felt before. I have true happiness and serenity with my life.
I will comprehend the word serenity and I will know peace. My whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
Serenity? Not always. But I can honestly say that I have found a new peace and I have been given tools to help manage stressful situations. People wonder how I’m able to keep coolheaded while managing my companies and it’s very simple; I ask for God’s help several times throughout the day. Even during the most turbulent times in my personal or business life, I am able to find that serenity or peace within my days. I ask God, “Thy will not mine be done” and I find anxieties almost instantly lifted from me. Sometimes, I have to say that same prayer hundreds of times to realize that maybe it is God’s will for me to be going through this anxiety. For me, understanding that it’s ok to feel what I’m feeling and have the peace of mind to know that I do not have to medicate feelings or emotions is amazing. That in itself is progress, progress that I would have never even imagined possible before.
That feeling of uselessness and self pity will disappear. I will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away.
I remember the days where I would wake up about noon, fill myself with a concoction of drugs and alcohol, and attempt to work and end up staring blankly at the screen. I couldn’t believe it, I had completely driven my will to work out of me. I was the model businessman, the man that prided himself on working longer and smarter than anyone else. The self-made, self-proclaimed boss of all bosses – and I completely rendered myself useless. I remember the dismay that fell over me as I completely just stopped caring about everything that had meant so much for me. But at that point, I was just too far into the hole – and I cared about nothing other than more, more, more. I remember back to all the times I would get in trouble, have my parents look at me dead in the eyes and say, “I’m disappointed in you.”, the arrests, the thefts, the fights – and I’d wonder, why is this happening to me? Why can’t I be like the other people that party like I do and don’t get in trouble? I honestly believed the delusion that I was drinking and drugging regularly, comparing myself to others around me. I would constantly end up in a bind and wonder why it happened to me. I remember near the end of my using career, when week after week passed and things continued to get worse and worse for me. Crashed cars, arrests, disappointed family, and a final event that rocked my world – I couldn’t feel sorrier for myself. As I was lifted from the drugs, I was given the option of staying sober – an option I never previously had. I was given the option to do right and wrong, a conscious, and I assumed full responsibility for my actions. When things get tough, I don’t feel down for myself as I can rely on a higher power to help me through it.
Now not all my actions are self-seeking, I spend time every single week dedicated to passing the message of sobriety on. I need to give what was so freely given to me and that is the cornerstone of my sobriety. It’s funny even typing this, helping others was the absolute last motivator on my mind. I’ve made progress in this category, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. I still find myself, like any human, consumed with the happenings and woes of my daily life. I constantly need to remind myself that I need to help others to get out of the stuff floating around in my head.
I will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
As of lately, to say the least I have been facing problems and situations that would have baffled me. In the last couple months I feel that some of my larger, more glaring character defects have dulled with the emotional pains that I have been through. I’ve been faced with challenges, losing some of my best friends, and more – all through it I was able to maintain my cool and handle situations one by one. I simply asked for help, and help was given to me – I emerged from some of the most stressful situations I’ve encountered with ease. Looking back, I’m absolutely astonished that I made it through some of these challenges, and I know that it’s a gift of sobriety. Now I have those couple moments to pause before reacting, giving me time to make a formulated and informed response without causing more harm. I can only imagine how I would handle these situations during my drinking career, let alone within my first or second year sober. I remember literally anyone that even subtly didn’t like me was instantly attacked. Now, maybe I’ve grown up a little bit, but I don’t have to go to every fight that’s presented. This is my favorite gift of sobriety by far.
I honestly just hit the tip of the iceberg with what sobriety has given me, because as I said above – everything that I have now is as a direct result of it. If you or anyone needs help, being sober can be one of the best things for you – it’s just making it through those tough times in the beginning that determine the difference. For anyone that’s come up from the bottom, they know exactly how hard it can be. Get in contact with someone local to you that’s gotten help and is in recovery, it could be your road to a new life! Gifts of Sobriety