“Have an attitude of gratitude.” – Thomas S. Monson
Eight years ago, my life changed completely. Eight years ago, I decided to really step up and focus on moving forward in the healthiest way possible. I needed to dig deep and truly introspect so that I could give myself a better quality of life. Before I can tell you how I’ve managed to beat my addiction for 5 years, I want you to know how and why I chose to recover.
My addiction started at very young age, I wasn’t even a teenager when I got drunk for the first time. I snuck some of the alcohol that was being handed around at a family party, Colombians love themselves some Aguardiente and there was enough there that the adults didn’t even notice. Much like most of us, being drunk gave me a false sense of freedom. Because of that, for lack of a better word, addicting feeling I soon found myself drowning in a whole cocktail of drug dependencies.
The first step of my awakening process started when I was in jail. Yes, I ended up in jail at one point. The funny thing is that when I was sentenced I still didn’t think I had a problem. In my mind, everyone else had issues and they were out to get me. One very special AA meeting in prison changed that for me.
A man much older than myself shared his story and, for the very first time, something struck a chord in me. After years of trying to help him beat his addiction and loving him, the love of his life left him. He didn’t blame her, he knew it was his fault. His addiction had caused him to disappoint and hurt the one person he cared most about in the world. For me, that person is my mother. The thought of losing her motivated me to try to beat my addiction.
After I was released, I found a job selling cheap perfumes and colognes. I became so good at it that I was given a much higher position and I was responsible for training new salespeople. I was obsessed with my job and I became a workaholic. I ended up relapsing. You see obsession is just another form of addiction, and when the pressures of my obsession became too much to handle I relied on alcohol and drugs once again.
That time I knew that I needed help and got myself admitted into the rehabilitation center that saved me. That place made me face my pain and anger so that instead of trying to drown them, I could work through them. I wrote letters apologizing to everyone I had hurt along the way and everyone that I cared about. I was able to patch up my relationship with my parents and find peace with my past. Once I got out of there, I was determined to truly get better.
I now co-own a website development agency and moved back to the country that I was born in. I am completely stable, even happy and these are some of the key things that make recovery easier for me:
I met him at a local AA meeting and he gave me the choice between completing a college course or finding another sponsor. It’s because of him that I stumbled upon an HTTP course that gave me the knowledge and skills necessary to start my company. His name is Steve, and he did everything to force me to get out there and improve myself, he is also the same person that I call whenever I feel like I’m teetering on the edge of giving into temptation.
We also talk regularly. We may not be in the same country anymore but just the thought of our weekly Skype sessions gives me something to look forward to. That kind of association also helps keep me be honest with myself while keeping me on track and motivated.
I try to go every month or so and sometimes, I go more often than that. It all depends on how I’m feeling with my recovery. Going to the meetings helps me stay focused. Sometimes I get to help other people that are still struggling with their addiction and that helps motivate me to keep going. It’s a nice reminder of where I used to be and where I am now.
The general interest I had early on in computers, websites and the internet has sprouted into something much more meaningful. Through that first course and years of continued research, I found I could help companies grow by helping them with their online presence among other things. It makes me feel good to do what I do. As they say, ‘find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’. And trust me, today I love my job.
I pride myself on the company that I keep. From the people that work for me to my friends, I make it a point to choose healthy, motivated people with goals and good hearts. These are the kind of people that support me and make me feel good about staying clean.
Recovery isn’t just about you. It’s also about the people around you and those you care about. I would never want to hurt or disappoint any of them. The funny thing is, this doesn’t add any pressure on, it actually makes things easier for me.
I have accepted all my flaws and myself. I don’t judge myself. I simply work on getting better and better every day. Eating healthy and staying fit has helped me to build confidence and sense of self-worth. I focus on finding solutions rather than the problems, which really helps keep me level-headed.
And of course, I make sure to remind myself of every little thing that I have to be grateful for. Whether it be the roof over my head or the people in my life. I have so much to be happy about and when I focus on that, little bumps in the road don’t turn into mountains in my head.
Recovery is, by no means, an easy thing to stick to. But if you can manage to have some good people around you, stay motivated and happy, then it will be worth it. Every day that you spend clean, completely aware of yourself and your surroundings is a good day. Also, remember to count your blessings twice and your afflictions only once. We often tend to do the opposite and that just isn’t the way to do things if you want to live a full and happy life.