Sobriety Gift – When I made the conscious decision to stop abusing substances and get sober a few years back, I had no idea what was in store for me. I was terrified, unsure, and felt completely alone. Addiction is a dark place, a prison of sorts, that destroys your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. I felt so alone for such a long period of time that I was unsure of whether or not I deserved to be happy. Addiction had broken me down to such a point that I could only imagine living in active addiction — the thought of not using any drugs or alcohol was unbelievable to me. Fortunately, I took a giant leap of faith and began to place my trust in professionals and a 12 Step Program. I now recognize that this leap of faith saved my life, although I did not know this at the time. Sobriety has given me so many blessings, ones that I could not have imagined in active addiction. This blog will explore just a few of the sobriety gifts I have experienced.
In active addiction, I was incapable of developing and maintaining healthy relationships. My primary relationship was with the bottle, and all others faded into the background. Now that I am sober and working a program of recovery, I am able to develop new relationships and repair any past broken ones. I am capable of showing up for others when they need me, and asking for support when I need it. It is no longer a one-sided relationship with me constantly asking for things; instead, my relationships are give-and-take, with both parties participating. I have developed so many meaningful relationships with amazing people both in the program and not. I have worked on relationships from my past, particularly with family members. In active addiction, I thought that I did not need anyone. I felt I was undeserving of true friendship and that I didn’t need people in my life who would not support my addiction. I can honestly say that I have important relationships in my life today, which is one of the best sobriety gifts.
Today, I live my life with a sense of peace of mind that everything will work out as it is supposed to. In my past, I played God — always trying to manipulate situations to have them play out in a specific way. I attempted to control my entire life — my broken relationships, my addiction, my happiness, et cetera. After turning my will over on a daily basis, I receive peace and serenity that I am no longer in control. This allows me to live a fuller, more peaceful life as I am not constantly manipulating people, places, and things. Of course, I have my days where I am not as spiritually connected with a Higher Power of my understanding. On these days, I may slip into old patterns of thinking and acting before I recognize (or someone points out to me) that I am taking my will back. Additionally, I no longer have to focus on my next fix. I no longer fixate on how I’m going to get and use substances just to make it through the day.
When I was in active addiction, I was physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritual unwell. I was full of anxiety and alcohol. It is such a wonderful feeling to wake up and not reach for the bottle because I feel physically sick. Physical wellness also helps with mental, emotional, and spiritual health as well. Working a program of recovery helps improve all aspects of my life. In active addiction, I could not connect with anything emotionally or spiritually, as alcohol was my Higher Power. In recovery, I am able to work on my physical, mental, and spiritual health on a daily basis. This is only possible now that I am free from the fatal grips of substances.
I had no dreams, goals, or wishes when I was in active addiction because I was completely focused on getting that next fix. Now that I am sober, I am able to explore my creative interests and my plans for the future. I have a career doing what I love to do and both short-term and long-term goals. I have discovered what makes me happy in this life and I get to chase those passions on a daily basis. In the past, I was unable to envision a future without alcohol; now, I cannot imagine living the way I used to. Sobriety, and the relationships I have formed, drive me to be a better, more productive member of society. I believe this is one of the greatest sobriety gifts — learning who I am at my core without drugs and alcohol.