As a recovering addict, I know from experience how painful life can be when something besides you is in control of your life.
The best way I can explain it would be sitting in the backseat of a car that represents your life. No matter how bad you want to go in a different direction, it feels like the steering wheel is always just out of reach.
I can’t count the number of times that I felt like changing was hopeless. I probably made the decision to quit a thousand times. However, making a decision and actually following through with it are two completely different things.
My addiction journey went on for many years.
In fact, it still continues today. One of the main things that recovering addicts teach others is that once you are an addict, you will always be an addict. This doesn’t mean that you always have to be an active addict. Rather, it simply means that we will always be a bit more susceptible to slipping down that slippery slope than a person who has never experienced addiction before.
Oddly enough, I actually feel blessed for the things that I was taught. Even though I may have felt at the time that my life was one big hopeless black cloud, I was actually provided with some insights that few people ever receive.
One of the major things that I was taught would be the fact that addicts are normal people who happen to be battling for their life. Sadly, people often judge those suffering from addiction. It’s not uncommon for people to jump to conclusions and believe they must be bad people.
While addicts may make bad choices at times, that doesn’t mean they are bad.
I met many people along my path that are highly intelligent, charismatic, and fun to be around. Unfortunately, they were struggling with the same thing I was, something else being in control of their life.
My past also taught me that anything is possible. When a person is willing to work hard for what they want, there is literally no limit to the things they can achieve.
Those who knew me when I was still using thought that I would never become a successful person. I can’t blame them. I thought the same thing about myself. They always say that the only way to go is up when you hit rock bottom. However, rock bottom can be so deep at times that you have to struggle to even see the light at the top of the hole.
I could have given up and allowed myself to become another statistic, but I decided that I wanted more from life. I made a conscious decision that the circumstances during that time in my life were not going to define who I was.
I honestly believe that recovery begins when a person makes up their mind that enough is enough.
Until someone gets to this point, a clean and sober life will always be just out of their reach. As I said before, I tried countless times to begin a new life. However, things didn’t get better until I made it clear in my mind that I wanted a better life for myself.
I think one of the most important things I learned was what it feels like to be an addict. There are a lot of people who don’t understand how hard it is to turn things around. We hear people all of the time that say things like “They did it to themselves” or “Why don’t you just stop.” What they don’t understand is that the majority of addicts don’t want to be stuck in the life they are in. They would gladly trade the world for a fresh start.
My experiences allow me to see things from a different perspective. I can understand the pain, the hopelessness, and the need for real help.
I kept my past hidden in the shadows for a long time. Likely, because I was embarrassed about the life I had lived. It wasn’t until recently, probably within the last year, that I began to open up about my past and use it to offer hope to others.
I’ve learned that we all walk a unique path in life for a reason. The things we go through may be painful or may even seem unfair at times. However, everything happens for a reason.
Without the lessons I learned on my addiction journey, I wouldn’t be able to offer light to those in need. For this reason, I am grateful for what I have been through.
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