Why I'm Thankful for Addiction
Life's biggest gift & how I've used it to my advantage
You've seen what addiction can do; how it can destroy families, lives, and friendships. It's likely you've seen success stories and how getting sober has changed people's lives.
Well, I'd like to share a bit of mine. I'm not going to tell you about the partying days, the drugs I used to do, or all the mistakes I made. I'm going to give you and idea of what it was like then, how it changed, and what the hell I've been able to accomplish thus far.
To me, that's a better story anyway. So... Here goes!
I Got Caught Again
On June 26, I was caught driving under the influence for the 3rd time. You'd think after the first two I would have learned my lesson. That just wasn't the case for me. I spent 11 days in jail, detoxing from drugs, alcohol, and psych medications. It sucked but it was my doing and I'm still grateful for it.
The third DUI led me into a program called sobriety court. I begged my mom and my attorney to let me skip the program and do house arrest for a year or whatever. I hated the idea of completing a program designed to treat a problem that I didn't think I had.
In this court program, I had to complete another two 48-hour stints in jail, wear an ankle monitor to ensure I didn't consume alcohol, be home for curfew, attend counseling, go without a driver's license for 45 days, take drug screens twice per week, complete 240 hours of community service, attend support group meetings, and have a mentor/sponsor within that support group.
I am in the last 6 months of this program, so I only have to go to counseling once per week for 1.5 hours, attend 3 weekly meetings, drug screen once per week, work in our community garden and attend court once per month.
With all the counseling I thought I didn't need and support groups I couldn't stand going to, I learned acceptance. Acceptance of my life, my choices, and the fact that I can choose to do and be better.
What's Happening Now
Life is good now. I've learned to tell people no and set boundaries. I've learned to be honest with myself and others. I've also learned that failure happens but doesn't have to be the end of the story.
Because of my experience in sobriety court, I've been able to fully accept the fact that alcohol and drugs don't mix with my system.
I've gained direction in life: I know what I want and I know how I'll get it. Sure, I started later than most people my age, but I'm happy.
Speaking of happiness, through learning forgiveness and gaining the ability to admit my faults, I've rekindled a romance that died about 2 years ago. Neither of us imbibe anymore, and we've gained a whole new perspective of what love actually is.
Better yet, I can accept love. Not only from him, but from women I've met and become close with in sobriety. With the acceptance of love comes knowing how to give it. This is something I always thought I knew but had no idea.
Finally, I can love myself. Like, really love myself and see how great I am. I can love my defects and see when they're making an ugly appearance.
I'm not so naive to believe that I'm special and can't relapse. I also am scared to death of doing so.
I know that in order to maintain my happiness I have to stay sober. And in order to maintain my sobriety, I must have a connection with people--my sponsor and the women and sobriety. I also must stay honest with those I love and even those I don't.
All of these realizations about my life, the ability to do what I love, to have relationships with my family, rekindle love, and actually have friends is exactly why I'm thankful for my addiction.