Today marks 10 years of sobriety.
I am emotional even writing that.
The reality is that nothing in my life would be possible without my sobriety.
I would not be blessed with a beautiful wife, four incredible sons, and a home not a house. From day one my wife, Tanya, said we were moving forward, not backward. She was (and always will be) my rock.
I want to share 3 key lessons that I have learned along the way.
1. Use Your Voice in Times of Need
Silence has never equalled strength. Staying behind closed doors can make us feel as though we are part of some secret sick society, and secrets have the ability to keep us sick. Early in my recovery I learned the importance of asking for help, and also the importance of receiving the help. Help really is everywhere, but it is up to us to access the numerous resources around us.
2. Surround yourself with others who ‘speak your language’
No matter what you are going through I can promise you, there are others facing a similar battle. You are not alone, and supports do exist. I don’t go to groups like Alcoholics Anonymous to work the steps as much as I go to be understood. We all have a basic need to connect with people in a genuine way where we feel as though we are heard and understood. Pretty neat that today I was able to deliver a presentation at a treatment center with people who ‘spoke my language’. Their presence was a clear reminder that we were not meant to fight our battles alone.
3. Healing is Work
I used to always want the quick fix. I wanted to get better NOW. Eventually I understood that healing was a process, not an event. For me healing did not look how I envisioned. Rather, it was raw, painful and ugly. I was forced to stop deflecting, stop running and look within. However, I quickly discovered the numerous rewards that came from the work. Over time I was able to release shame and feel empowered. My friend Kevin says it well. For him, recovery is similar to continuously biking up a steep hill. The moment you are no longer pedalling, you start to roll backwards. I have been to the bottom, and to ensure I never return I understand the importance of being active in my recovery.
Like so many others, I continue to earn my freedom from that old life of self-destruction. And while I have always found life difficult, I can honestly say today that life is good.
Keep fighting my friends.