Thirty months ago, I made a decision to change everything about my life.
I had burned all of my bridges and the ones that haven’t fallen yet, we already doused in gasoline. I had had enough. The life I was living was only leading me to an early grave. I had hit the bottom. The first thing I had to do was quit lying to myself and understand the problem was me – and alcoholism was just a symptom. I had actually said the words, “I don’t have a problem, I’m fine with who I am. It’s all of you people who have a problem with what I do.”
Sickness at its finest.
It took a lot of work to change everything. There was, and still is, a lot of trial and error. But learning comes from making mistakes. I had to learn how to become teachable, shut my mouth and listen. But the pay off of a better life has been greater than I ever imagined.
I’ve seen addiction put people in prisons, hospitals and graves. I’m very fortunate that my personal journey with addiction did not end in those places; it ended in a treatment center. But I had to get myself there. No matter how much people cared about me and loved me, they could not save me.
I had to save myself.
Until I came to that realization that my lifestyle was killing me, no one could drag me, court order me, threaten me, or force me to get help – all they could do was pray that I got help before it was to late.
It’s painful to watch people be consumed by the beast that is drug and alcohol addiction. I work in a treatment center and I get a first hand account if it all the time. I see myself walk through those doors all the time. I see the anger, depression, self-righteousness and defeat that was inside of me, come through those doors all the time. But I welcome them with open arms and let them understand that there is a way out, and that if they make the decision to change everything about themselves, they no longer have to live like that anymore.
I’ve heard people say that, “If I can get sober, anyone can.” I am one of those people today. I’ve seen the bottom. When you’ve seen the bottom, it gives you a better appreciation of the journey upwards toward a better life. It makes me want to give those people what has been given so freely to me – a better life, free of the prison that is drug and alcohol addiction. It is a life long journey, but if I can live my days out the same way I have lived the last thirty months, I’m willing to do the work and live that better life.
If you know someone who is suffering, even if they can’t admit it, let them know that there is help and there are people out there who are willing to walk with them on the path toward a better life.
I am one of them.
Help is out there, we just have to be willing to take that first step and admit that we need it.