I Didn’t See That Happening!
1) Sober Fun Doesn’t Exist
Before getting sober, I thought it would go something like this – “oh, yeah, this is great. I get to sit around and drink coffee all day. And meditate. I love meditating. Sike! My life is OVER.” That’s really what I thought recovery was like. After being sober a few years, I’ve found most other people tend to believe this. How far from the truth!
After I got a little bit of sober-time under my belt, I began to have confidence again. I started to live, really live, life for the first time. I’ve been to more shows, concerts, events, parties, vacations, and adventures in sobriety than I ever did before. I have more fun on an A1A drive, near the beach on a Tuesday night, blasting music, than I ever did at clubs and bars, dealing with the other hot messes in the crowd.
If you think your social life is over just because you put down the drink and the drugs, well, just wait and see how fun life becomes.
2) I’ll Never Amount To Anything
Okay, before I came into recovery life sucked. I was a college dropout and fired from every job I had. Was this due to my addiction? Well, if you asked me a few years ago, I’d have said nope. I’d have said my boss was crazy. The company sucked. YOLO. Blah, blah, blah. I’d have said whatever excuse I could come up with to justify the gross injected that occurred in my professional careers.
The fact is, my drug and alcohol problems led me to make poor life choices. Drugs and booze led me to be a horrible employee, co-worker, and student. So, when I entered recovery I assumed that’s how things were always going to be.
What I didn’t know is that once the drugs and alcohol were taken out of the situation, I became better in each of those roles! I’ve held the same job for over three-and-a-half years. I’ve even grown in the company! For me, that’s crazy. The idea that someone like me, a down and out junkie, can’t change their life is ridiculous. The sky is the limit, ladies and gentlemen.
3) I Only Hurt Myself, What’s The Big Deal?
This was my favorite misconception. Okay, everyone calm down, I thought to myself in treatment. I drank and got high by myself. I didn’t hurt that many people. Chill, people!
See, I’m self-centered to the bone marrow. I didn’t think about how many times my roommates had to pick my drunk a** up from the bar. I didn’t occur to me how many times I drove drunk and hit people and stationary objects. I’m incredibly lucky I didn’t seriously hurt anyone!
I didn’t think about my poor mom. She used to wait up and see if I’d come home. I didn’t think about my boyfriend who would take me to dinner, only to watch me pass out. I didn’t think about my boss who I manipulated and took advantage of.
No, I didn’t think about anyone, other than myself. I thought my drinking and drug use only hurt me. Turns out, my actions effected everyone I came into contact with. I learned that after being sober for, oh…a few days.
4) I Can Totally Do This On My Own, I Got It
Who can relate to this – you have no idea who I am or what I’ve through. If you knew my life, you’d understand why I do the things I do.
I certainly did. I thought I was a big shot the first time I tried to get sober. I thought everyone trying to help me just didn’t understand. I thought I was so different and that I’d conquer addiction all on my own. It wasn’t until I suffered repeated defeats, that I gave in and accepted the help I was offered. After I gave in and accepted help, my life began to get better! Who would’ve thought? I began to make friends. Not the type of friends you meet in bars and clubs, but legitimate friends. I became friends with people who show up and offer emotional support. Friends who taught me how to handle life sober, with integrity and grace. I know now, without a doubt, that I couldn’t (and wouldn’t!) do this deal alone. I totally don’t “got this.”
There are SO many resources available for addicts and alcoholics. There are Intensive Outpatient Programs, Inpatient Facilities, and Twelve-Step Fellowships, just to name a few.
5) God? Ha! That’s Not Going to Happen
When I walked into the rooms of recovery, I didn’t accept help. I didn’t accept it from people or from God. I could sort of wrap my head around going to meetings and working steps. I learned to like coffee. Praying to this God creature, though? Thanks, but no thanks! I thought I’d entered a cult.
After being beaten into a state of reasonableness, I got a sponsor. They took me through the Big Book. They took me to meetings where people all said the same thing. They said if I wanted to have long-term sobriety, well, I was going to have to develop a relationship with God.
Time heals all wounds. The longer I stuck around, the more work I did, the more I started to actually believe in some sort of God. This happened in spite of myself. Today, my relationship with God is, without a doubt, the most important relationship I have in my life. When I’m connected to God, I’m spiritually fit. During these times, my life is better than I could have ever imagined. I’m happy and whole. I don’t obsess about drugs or alcohol and my life takes on new meaning.
6) My Family Is Never Going To Trust Me Again
I’d done so much lying, cheating, and stealing in active addiction, that I destroyed every relationship I had. This included my entire family. They’d been there for me time and time again. They spent years helping me pick up the pieces when my life would shatter (and it always did). Finally, they had enough and din’t want to support my harmful choices. When I got sober, I know this was it. This was beyond my last chance.
I knew my family wouldn’t be there if I threw everything away. I believed the damage I’d done was never going to be fixed. Even in my delusional self-centeredness, I saw how much I’d hurt them.
In recovery, I learned how to be a family member again. I learned to show up. I learned to be the child my parents always knew I could be. I learned to be a sibling to my sister. I learned to be a cousin and a granddaughter. I learned to be trusted again. It took some time, don’t get it twisted. It took time for these relationships to develop. However, when they did develop they became better and stronger and contained more love than ever before.
7) I Just Want To Be Happy
When I finally admitted complete defeat, I was one hell of a broken soul. I was miserable, alone, and unhappy. You know what? Unhappy’s an understatement. If you’d ask me to write down the one wish I had, I would’ve simply written “to be happy.”
As far back as I could remember, my birthday wish was always to be happy. I didn’t think I’d ever lose the anxiety (and pain, depression, hatred, and self-pity) I felt 24/7.
After being sober a few months, I learned some tools. I took suggestions. I made friends with other sober people. In turn, these people helped to transform my ideas about recovery. I learned that sobriety is possible. I learned that I could be happy and grateful. I learned that life is beautiful and I could be part of life, if I decided to take a few simple actions.
Today, life is beautiful. If you asked me to write a wish, I wouldn’t write “to be happy.” I don’t have to hope for it anymore. I’d write “for other sick and suffering addicts to experience what sobriety can really be like.”