In the classes I teach, I hear a lot of excuses as to why one can’t get clean or sober. They tell me, “But you don’t know what I been through, if you had my life, you’d drink & use to!” Anyone can get clean and sober no matter what tragedies they have been though in their lives. ANYONE. Let’s keep it real here. I was sexually assaulted several times throughout my life, (one time by my ex who was well aware about the other times and another time by my ex’s brother) I’ve been brutally beaten and mentally broken, I’ve gone through the death of a parent and a child. It was all those things and much more that kept me out there for 28 years I nursed and held onto my pain, my shame and self loathing. By doing so it allowed me to continue to kill myself slowly with the bottle and the drugs. That’s just the plain truth.
Once I gave up the booze and drugs, I was able to think clearly and I could start the long overdue healing process. I had to “feel” the pain before I could heal from it. The alcohol and drugs kept me in a numbing state and allowed me to live in denial. With willingness and determination, I was finally able to shed that pain, self-loathing and shame the way a snake sheds it’s skin.
In sobriety I have been able to deal with the death of my daughter. I have also gone through not one but a total of four funerals of those I was very close to. I made it through it all completely sober. In fact, picking up a drink never even crossed my mind. Today I have the coping skills to deal with any situation that comes my way and I know that I don’t have to pick up. The only thing picking up will do for me is make a bad situation worse.
I personally know of an individual who went through worse situations that I. One in particular was continuously sold for sexual favors by their own family members at a very young age. Another Individual who lost not one but two of their children through suicide a few years a part. Both of these individuals are sober today and happy.
If you chose to live in your past and the misery that comes with it, than you’re choosing to stay sick. You have to let go. Holding on to all of that pain is like giving a seagull an alkaseltzer. It fizzes up and then it explodes over and over again. You can’t change the past or do anything about it. Holding on to it prevents you from moving forward. You must allow yourself to heal and go on. Is it easy? No. But it IS necessary for success and it CAN be done. You’ll never forget the things you’ve been through, but you can get past it and move on. You can’t hold on to them for dear life and continue to feel sorry for yourself.
In the beginning, the instinctual drive to drink or use when you’re in a tough spot stays with you but if you remain willing and determine to resist, it won’t be too long before that instinct disappears. If you put in the work, you will receive the reward. Among other things, you will have inner peace and serenity.
AJ Menendez, Master Male Illusionist