The other night I was meeting with a group of my friends and we were talking about our lives and what it's like trying to live a sober life. Recovering alcoholics are individuals just like everyone else, they each have their own stories and motivation for getting and staying clean/sober. We come from every possible walk of life and background....
The disease of addiction/alcoholism brings people down, ultimately this disease wants your life, it tries to kill us one way or another...Each of us gets off the so-called down-ward elevator when we finally have a reason to do so. In my case I never went to jail, never was arrested but experienced a great deal of heart ache and pain.
I was forced into disability retirement from a 25 yr career with an excellent company but essentially I was fired for my alcoholism/addiction. My disease progressed to the point that I was virtually unemployable...
As I've noted many times here on Triple S (Shell Shock Serenade) I became very self-destructive. I hated myself and everything I stood for. I abused myself terribly those final couple of years and ultimately tried to end my life.
In the process I lost my home, marriage, trust of family/friends...that is what it took for me to throw in the towel and ask for help. I did that after I failed to kill myself and had no where else to turn. I had not realized exactly how that had really played out until I wrote the post: Darkest Before the Dawn.... That was really went it all began to sink in what I had really felt and what I had done.
Some people get to the point where they just aren't happy drinking the way they do and make the decision to try and find a life of recovery. For others it's the Jails that motivate, Drunk Driving or violent drunken behavior, drug dealing or using...there are many who seek sobriety as an alternative to going to jail.
Some people never get off the elevator and they die. I see it frequently enough...in the four and a half years I've been sober I can't begin to tell you how many people I've known who were trying to get clean/sober and didn't make it. It can be disheartening, truly heart breaking...
But many do find sobriety...and the new life that can come with it.
It doesn't really matter how one decides to make the change and look for a different way of life or what brought them to that point, no...but we all seem to be able to relate with one another regardless and that is a magical thing. I've often said that I couldn't have done this, stayed sober w/out my friends. Nope, no way...it took an incredible amount of support for me because I thought I was hopeless. I really did...beyond help was how I phrased it, beyond ALL HELP.
Wow, was that a lonely way to feel, just typing it out here and now brings a flood of that emotion flowing right back over me, yikes!
But addiction is a powerful thing and breaking the bondage of it is extremely difficult...
I used to envy those folks who would get sober that still had actual lives, still intact: spouses, jobs, kids that looked up to them, etc. I felt sorry for myself: why did I do this to myself, Wah, Wah..but then I realized, hey that's just the way it is. There wasn't a damn thing I could do about that, it was too late. I had to play the cards I had been dealt and hell, the irony is that I was the dealer!!
But I knew in my heart that I wanted sobriety, wanted it bad, wanted it with all my being and bit by bit I was able to learn to live again. Honestly the life I have today is much, much better then the life I had. Originally I felt like I was losing something important by giving up booze/drugs, that I would be missing something, fun perhaps?! My god, I had stopped having "fun" drinking years ago but my thought process demonstrates how we lie, how we fool ourselves into thinking we are still OK.
But in reality I hadn't "lost" anything by giving up the booze/dope..Nope, instead it has really brought me a way of looking at life, through spiritual eyes that I hadn't a clue even existed. That has opened up new doors, experiences that have made life actually fun again. I get up in the morning excited about the new day, yes I'm a morning person but it's way more then that. Sobriety has given me a new outlook, a new life..
But to achieve those new possibilities, my life today has to be about accountability and about acceptance. Combined with a focus on selflessness for who and what I am and then who I want to be. If I start with that each day, things seem to come together in a special and unique way. My focus now is not so much ME and MY sobriety, no...it is about working with others who are seeking sobriety for themselves. I keep my gift of recovery by giving my experience, strength and hope away. I do this by helping others any way that I can.
This Blog is just one way I try to give my experience, strength and hope away...I reach out here, that is why I don't fear the risk of exposing myself too much. I have a deep rooted belief that this is my life and this (sharing my journey, my struggles, pain and yes my growth and successes) is what I have to do. And you know what? It is getting easier each day I do it.
I've made so many wonderful friends during the last few years in recovery. There are some incredibly strong and amazing people in this world, a bunch of them are in recovery. But this journey, this reaching out to others has brought me in touch with many people who are not alcoholics or addicts. They have their stories of over coming hardship and tragedy that are incredible in their own unique way....
I never would have met any of these people if I wasn't an addict. That truly is a negative thing turning into a very positive thing right before my eyes...and I could no longer deny it.