In a few days (on May 12th) it’ll be 2 years ago that I sat here with a gun to my head, making a choice, and spent the next year and a half thinking I pulled the trigger. Soon, I’ll be two years clean and sober, but it’s not enough. It’s not enough to just quit abusing drugs and alcohol, but I learned that it’s a start, a strong start. I don’t know that the disease, the infection, the defect, or whatever the hell you want to call it–I don’t know that it ever goes away, because it’s there. I feel it at times, a craving will come over me, a blip on my mind’s radar of what once was, and could easily be again. But I know, from experience, there isn’t a way to maintain what was, that I’ll pick up where I left off, and it’s possible that I won’t return. I wish, very much at times, that I could just make it go away, that I could take back all of the things that have gone on as a result of my substance abuse, but I can’t take it back. On one hand, I try to look at it as a blessing and not a scarlet letter, but it’s hard not to look down on it. I feel a deep regret about my life at times, and at others, I’m happy to have ridden the roller coaster and gotten the hell off. But at what price, I sometimes wonder. When does this eventually wear off? Is there anything to help make it better? I don’t have an answer for that, friends, but I can tell you what has worked for me.
- Keeping busy
- Exercise and better diet
- Trying for meaningful friendships / relationships
- Constantly forgiving myself and others
- Being there for someone in their time of need
I doubt there will ever be a clear and concise method for much of anything, but anything positive is better than anything negative. I’m not trying to sell it to you like a Charles Ponzi scheme, just trying to let you know where I’m coming from. Because, all the bullshit aside, I am better as a substance-free person than I am as a polluted one.
I recently just exited a relationship, and I’m convinced that I did more for this person than I’ve done for anyone in my life before. I truly love this person and care deeply for her, but it wasn’t right, not yet. Things were rushed, things went bad, things just are what they are. But I was able to feel on different levels than what I had felt before, and I’m grateful for that person having come along to help me to feel again. I’m moving in the right direction–by the grace of God, and by the grace of good people. In May of 2012, I weighed 253 pounds. As of May 2013, I weigh 195 pounds. In May of 2012 I was a size 44″ waist, and as of today, May 8th, 2013, I am a size 34″ waist. I was able to go to school this semester, work two jobs, and help take care of a sick girlfriend, endure a break-up and keep going. I got two As and two Bs this semester, and a raise. But while in the storm, I didn’t know what I was capable of, and I won’t lie, it was hard and it was stressful. But, looking back on it now, I know that I can do it, and I’m better for it. Two years ago I would’ve been buried in a bottle like there was a genie at the bottom, but that was the old me, not the new me. Change happens–acknowledge that, leave out the “it takes time” bullshit (not bullshit) part of it. Change happens.
Don’t wait to live your life because if you do not live life, then life will live you. I want better for you, all of you. Living your life does not need to be a reckless endeavor. There are other ways than the hard way to learn. Understand that so long as you are a human being on this planet then you are not alone and not independent. We need each other, and if you need help, then reach out. Do not fall victim to the hype that you’re alone. You are never alone. There are good people who can and will help you. It starts with you though, and it’s a process, not a switch. If you or anyone you know is suffering from substance abuse, please help to lend a hand. They are not lost causes. I was once a lost cause, but look at me now. I keep writing books. I keep trying to help others, I’ll have four degrees by the end of summer, with my eyes set on more. There is always hope. The life you help save today, could be the one that saves yours or a loved one’s tomorrow. No one is worth saving if even one person is worth dying. We all have issues. We all are damaged, but we all are people, and I believe we are here to learn how to love. Love is. Be love and you will be have love.
When life happens, we happen. We push back. We do not give up. We will not roll over and die. We are strong. We are united. We are love. We are loved.