I spent almost half my life under the influence. If I was not using drugs, I was drinking instead. At some points in my life I was doing both. I never really saw it as a problem like everyone close to me did. I was too set in my own self-destructive, reckless ways. Once I reached the point to where I was drinking all day and night, blacking out and just waiting for the bottle to end my life, my parents reached out to me and suggested that I check into a detox and treatment center. I knew I could not keep going the way I was. I did the most unselfish thing I could do and agreed to go. I didn't necessarily do it for myself, I did it for my family. Once I caught that break in life that some of us need, I decided to head down to south Florida for sober living to continue my journey into recovery.
Recovery to me is not just about staying sober from drugs and alcohol. Recovery goes beyond that. Recovery is about trying to become the best person you can possibly be. It is about forgiving others who have wronged you and vice versa. It means recovering from your worst fears, anxiety, depression, hatred and anger. It is about learning to love yourself again. I used drugs and alcohol to numb everything inside me. I used it as a mask to hide my low self-esteem, self-loathing and depression. Recovery means uncovering your true essence. People like us are not the same while we are under the influence of drugs and alcohol. We are powerless, helpless and possessed in a sense. Everyone close to me who has seen me at my worst can see the difference in how much I have grown as a person since I started this journey. It is a great feeling knowing that my family and friends no longer have to worry about me. People like me always have one more relapse within us but we may never get the chance at one more recovery. Recovery can mean life or death. I begged for death before I decided to get help and today I choose life.
The most difficult part about this journey has been starting a new life all over again for what seems like the hundredth time. Every time I moved to restart my life and thought I finally had stability and everything figured out, life somehow always threw unexpected curveballs at me and it would always spiral out of control. There are two things that make going into recovery in unfamiliar territory difficult. The first one was trying to discover who I really am without the influence of drugs and alcohol. Over time, learning how to go out and do things that I usually would be doing under the influence has become easier. The second was trying to come out of the shell of my former existence. I had to learn to not be shy and isolated. I had learn how to meet people and make friends again without being under the influence of drugs or “liquid courage” that was alcohol. I had to be careful with the friends I chose and the people I associate myself with for obvious reasons. Recovery is a long and difficult journey. I just have to remind myself every day why I chose to get sober. If I can help it, this will be the last time I will ever have to restart my life. Maybe recovery also means restarting...but restarting in the best way possible.