Life is beautiful.
I started attending CA and AA in February 2017 with 5 1/2 months of sobriety under my belt. I then proceeded to have 30-40 “day 1’s” over the next few months and consulted with my sponsor and a psychiatrist who specialized in drug addiction. I elected to attend Mountainside in November 2017. To say that life has improved would be a gross understatement. I did not attend AA meetings and or go to Mountainside merely to stop drinking and drugging. My main goal was to have a more satisfying life, but I couldn’t start that journey until I stopped substance abuse.
I know some AA’s state: “I didn’t stop my drinking. God did.” I hear that, but like most things in life, it’s too simple a statement, even if one believes in a higher power. It takes work to change, and I hated any kind of work. There are no shortcuts, and for the change to be effective, I needed to wake up every day thinking about how to become a better person.
The days I remember to read “Upon Awakening” in The Big Book invariably give me a better chance of growing that day. Or at least most days. The most important items recovered in my life are:
- A sense of curiosity.
- A desire to grow.
- The knowledge it’s ok to feel uncomfortable.
- The understanding that setbacks will occur; however, it’s up to me, with a LOT of help from friends, to get past those setbacks, and, ideally, to use them as medicine.
- A relationship with myself, and the ability to catch my own lies.
- The knowledge that if euphoria is my go-to destination, I am destined to lead an unhappy life.
- Much deeper relationships with family and friends, with the acknowledgment that like all items of importance, relationships take work.
Last year, I built out a camper van and spent seven months traveling across the country alone. It has been a life-changing experience. Here’s the most important thing I learned about myself: I needed to get over my fear of being alone. One of my favorite sayings is, “The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It’s connection.” Now that I am becoming more comfortable with myself, I am better situated to engage with humanity and to fully immerse myself in and enjoy everyday life. Life is truly beautiful; I just needed to get out of my own way.