Never in my life did I think I would ever say this, and to those who don’t have a clue about alcoholism or addiction, this is probably going to sound completely off the wall. I recently read a friend’s post and was inspired to write this……
Not only am I an alcoholic & an addict, I’m a PROUD and GREATFUL RECOVERING alcoholic and addict. Sound crazy to you? Only those who suffer from this disease and have been in active recovery will truly understand what I mean by that. Truth is, had I not been the walking Tornado that my disease caused me to be, I would never have entered into recovery and became the person I am becoming one day at a time. I started drinking and drugging at the age of twelve, therefore drinking and drugging and all that comes with it, is all I’ve ever known. I truly did not start “living” until I went into recovery at the age of forty.
My recovery enabled me to become someone that can be depended upon, someone who can be trusted and someone who cares more for others than myself. That was not me for almost thirty years. It was all about me. What people could do for “me” how things could benefit “me” I was the kind of person who was manipulative even in my sleep. It took me to suffer from my addiction to become the kind of person I could never be before.
I’ve done a great many destructive, hurtful, cruel and unspeakable things in my life. I own that. I’m not proud of the person that I was, but had I not been that person, I would not be the person that I am today. Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying, I’m NOT nor will I ever be cured. It’s a day to day process and all it would take is ONE drink to put me directly back in that dark place I’ve been working so very hard to climb out of. There used to be a time where I just wanted to forget the person that I was, but the reality is, I can’t allow myself to forget. My mistakes are my biggest lessons to learn from. Remembering where I was and doing what I need to do EVERY DAY will ensure that I never go back there.
If I wasn’t the alcoholic / addict that I am, I would know nothing about humility, gratitude and serenity today. I had to hit absolute bottom before I could find the courage and strength to climb my way out of the seemingly endless hole I dug for myself. If you are thinking you may have a problem, or you know you have a problem, know that the shame and guilt that comes with it does not last forever. Entering recovery and asking for help is NOT the end of your life, it’s the beginning. Recovery DOES give you a “Do-over” at life no matter how far down the scale you may have gone.
Before I found myself smack dab in the middle of an overwhelming and deadly disease, I thought about “Alcoholics / Addicts” the way most people tend to…..I thought they were all homeless, un-kept street walkers that cared about nothing but the drug & bottle. They were hopeless We aren’t all hopeless, we CAN get it together IF we’re willing to put in the work it takes to do it. We should not be judged or defined by our past either. Alcoholism and Addiction is our disease, not “who” we are or who we are capable of being.
Recovery has given me a sense of self-worth, self-respect, a sense of pride I never knew existed and the desire to live. Those are all things I had never had before. Recovery saved my life and enabled me to do the things I do today. Yes, I AM a RECOVERING alcoholic AND an addict. I own that 100%. It was that deadly disease that caused me to hit bottom then allowed the recovery to give me the life I have today. I’m PROUD to own what most would deem an embarrassing and shameful thing.
AJ Menendez, Master Male Illusionist
February 1, 2015