Writing to me has always been a very passionate and therapeutic for me. I’ve been doing it ever since I was old enough to form words on a piece of paper. Which I why I enjoy blogging so much. Especially on topics I’m passionate about. Writing about Living with Addiction is a topic very close to home and I try my best to be as informative as I possibly can in order to help others who may think or actually may be suffering and afraid to seek help. However comma……I think that every now and then it’s important for me to write less as a teacher and more as a person who has the deadly disease that I write about. Sharing my own personal experience, strength and hope. With my mother’s recent passing, my son getting shot and everything else that goes on in the madness that’s known as my life, it’s been an emotional time for me. I’ve been doing a lot of contemplating and soul searching. So here I am, exact;y seven days away from celebrating six years of sobriety “tucked and un-taped” LOL
I don’t think of myself as an inspiration of any kind, nor do I try to be. Truth is, I’m just like every other alcoholic out there. My disease caused me to be a more than crappy parent, I’d lied, stolen, manipulated and my ego walked in the door five hours before I did. As a matter of fact, I was dam near Narcissistic! There isn’t a day that goes by that I am not extremely grateful that I am not that person anymore. At the same time (this is gonna sound a bit crazy) I’m very grateful for the disease it self. Had I not taken that journey, I would not be taking the one I’m on now. I’m not a miracle either, I’m just another Alcoholic / Addict who made the decision to get sober and join the human race. For every day that I remain sober, I’m sober just for that day. Bottom line is I’m a real alcoholic. I am by no means exempt from a relapse and to be quite honest, I do have another relapse in me. What I don’t have, is another recovery. I can pretty much guarantee if I go back out, I WILL drink myself to death.
I go to meetings, I have a sponsor that I continue to work with even after almost six years and I do my best to use the tools I’d been given to the best of my ability every single day. My sobriety did not give me my life back, I started drinking and using at such an early age and as a result of that, I didn’t really have a life to begin with. Drugs and Alcohol ran my life. It gave me strength, allowed me to be social, it was my comfort when I was upset and angry. It was something I could depend on no matter what the situation. No matter what or who I lost in my life, I always knew it would be there like an old friend. It gave me courage and confidence as well…..or so I convinced myself. My sobriety gave me a real life at the age of 40. The journey hasn’t been peaches and cream for me, but it hasn’t been as difficult as it is for some. I contribute that to the fact that I was without a doubt, READY for the change and I was broken enough to become WILLING to do whatever it took. I didn’t show it back then, but before I got sober, I was by far the most insecure, self-loathing, self-hating person I knew. I spent my whole life wearing masks to show the world what I wanted them to see and the walls I built around myself ran high. I didn’t know how to love (especially myself) I didn’t know how to be honest, I didn’t know who the hell I was because I was always so busy trying to be whomever I portrayed myself to be to the outside world. I was also afraid of everything. I became such a good actor, I deserve an Oscar because very few could see through my crap. And for the very few that did, I’d find a way to get rid of them before they threw me under the bus and called me out.
Anyway, in the time that I’ve been sober, I’m in a much better place. I still don’t know who I am or what my purpose is, but I’m no longer afraid of finding out. Sobriety gave me a great many blessings. Not only not having to live in a bottle, but I’ve learned that I can love myself and give others love as well. I’ve discovered that I have an extremely humble side and am no longer egotistical. I’ve realized that it’s okay to “feel” with out fear. I appreciate the little things in life that most people take for granted these days. I have forgiven myself for the epic mistakes I made in the past as well. But thinking about it, I know I still have much to work on even in my sixth year of sobriety. There’s still a part of me that suffers from debilitating fear of going back to being a disappointment to others. For example; Gage will call me out of the blue, I don’t say “Hello” when I answer the phone, the first words out of my mouth are “Am I in trouble?” or “What’d I do wrong?” We laugh about it, but deep down, I’m dead serious. There are times (once in awhile) when I feel like I still have to prove I’m not that person anymore. In sobriety I’ve discovered I’m human and share the same insecurities that most do. The only difference is, today I have to work thru them instead of throwing on yet another mask.
I have absolutely no problem admitting that having to feel is something I’m not all that comfortable with. I don’t know if I ever will be. Every time I reach for my “off switch” I remind myself that the alternative is going back to my old behavior which is dangerous for those of us who suffer from this disease. I’ve discovered that with sobriety, I’m a total marshmallow that cries at the drop of a hat, blushes at the drop of a hat and is extremely sensitive. No more masks or walls to hide behind. I literally have to play tug of war with myself not to put those walls back up out of fear sometimes. Again, I’m human (apparently LOL) and am a work in progress. I’m not where I want to be yet, but I’m getting there a little more day by day.
For the most part, Today, I like the person who looks back at me in the mirror and don’t ever want to go back to who I was. If that means that I have to allow myself to fall to pieces or turn to mush on occasion, so be it. I’m not only happy today, I’m content. I have never been both at the same time. In fact, very seldom was I ever truly “happy” in my life. There would be happy times here and there, but looking back, they were few and far between. I know today that no matter how bad a situation is, I can get through it without a bottle. Today I have genuine strength, confidence and courage. When I feel like I don’t, I’m capable of finding it on my own or through the help of others. I’ve got quite a few more years to go in sobriety to be considered an “old timer” but I’m not in any rush. Hopefully I’ll get there one day at a time. Things that I used to swear up and down were important back in the day don’t seem important today at all. My priorities have changed. Hell, today I actually have priorities. I have a conscience and I genuinely care about people without expecting or even wanting anything in return. I am in the “To be continued” phase of my life and I look forward to the journey.
I don’t have everything that I want, but I do have everything that I need, my life is not perfect and there is always room for improvement. But I know without a doubt that every day that I wake up is a day to be grateful for no matter what the day has in store for me. I’m living today. Actually living and no longer existing. “TO BE CONTINUED…..”