Last Friday I turned 24 years old. If you would had asked me two years ago what my life would look like at 24, it would have looked nothing like how my life actually looks today. And guess what, this is only the beginning of my beautiful life. Sobriety has given me a life that I look forward to living every single day.
Addiction has been in my life since long before I was born. Everyone in my family is either sober or needs to be. Since a young age, I was exposed to tons of AA meetings and was surrounded by wise sober people who seemed to “have it all” including my own mother and oldest brother. I grew up in a home with an addict father who struggled in and out of sobriety for my entire life until the disease finally took his life five years ago. The disease of addiction literally kills both on a psychological stance as well as on a literal one. My dad died from drinking himself to death and the scariest part of it all is that my dad “had it all” or so it seemed. He ran an extremely successful business, had a beautiful family and wonderful friends but still lived a miserable life due to the demons he faced because of his addiction.
One would think after losing my father to the disease or after years of hearing people’s rock bottom stories and how much better their life got once they got sober, I would just stop drinking. Unfortunately that isn’t how addiction works. Once I took my first sip of alcohol, I had a problem with it; it was just the beginning. In fact, it was the start of a long road of problems and roadblocks that showed up in my life every time I drank. So why did I continue to drink?
Despite my family’s history with substance abuse, exposure to AA and losing my own father to the disease, I continued to drink. That alone reminds me of the power of my addiction. There is no winning with the disease; the disease wins over all. I continued to drink because I liked the way alcohol made me feel. Alcohol made me feel confident and secure with not only myself but with my friends and around guys. Alcohol made me forget about my problems and reduced my anxiety greatly. When I drank, I really didn’t care what people thought of me. Alcohol made me bold. It gave me liquid courage to say the things I was too afraid to say when I was sober. What alcohol didn’t give me, however, was sustainable happiness, which is ultimately why I got sober.
Why I Got Sober
Ever since I had my first drink at age 15, I knew I was “different.” However, it wasn’t until 15 months ago that I decided I was done once and for all. Over the past five or six years I had quit drinking for 5 month periods at a time but never fully embraced sobriety and committed myself to a life of sobriety. If I had known what sobriety was going to bring into my life, I would have chosen its path much sooner.
No matter how much false happiness I got from partying and drinking, one thing alcohol didn’t give me was the chance or the ability to get to know my true self; to get to know who I was and what I stood for. While I was drinking, my mind and soul were preoccupied with partying and having a “good time.” On July 4, 2015, I finally took my life back. I had hit an emotional bottom and was just done. I was done with letting the disease defeat me. I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. I knew I deserved better.
How My Life has Changed in Sobriety
Since making the decision to be sober 15 months ago, my life has been incredibly blessed. I actually look forward to waking up in the morning because I now live a life that I am excited to live. I am getting to know myself all over again. I am learning new things about myself every single day. I am getting involved in new hobbies and activities that I never knew I liked before. In essence, I am getting to know a brand new MC. Sobriety has allowed me to take a step back and be grateful for life and everything and everyone in my life. Before I got sober I was self centered and very small minded. I didn’t take time to reflect on what I was grateful for. Now that I am fully “awake” and my mind is not clouded with alcohol, I am much more involved in life and all it has to offer. Every morning when I wake up I spend at least 10 minutes mediating on what I want my day to look like. This allows me to be present first thing in the morning and carry the feelings of calmness and clarity with me throughout the day.
Bringing this calmness into my life has taught me how to be present in everything I do. Before getting sober, I was constantly preoccupied with the future. When would I get to party again? What kind of drinks would I want there? Who should I party with? What guy should I text? What time can I start drinking? I am surrounded by some of the most genuine people because I’ve deliberately chosen to surround myself with these types of human beings. My work place environment is extremely positive and I show up everyday with a huge smile on my face more motivated than ever before. I finally experience true happiness; the kind of happiness that makes you want to cry tears of joy because you are so happy. The type of happiness I experienced before getting sober was completely artificial and based on material goods. Now my happiness comes from things that are free such as love, friendship, laughter, and the freedom and courage to pursue my passions in life. I could go on and on about how getting sober has changed my life for the better but the truth of it all truly comes when you discover and fully embrace sobriety for yourself on your own.