I thought I'd share this in the hope that it provides hope for someone else. For a long time I felt hopeless. I believed that change just wasn't possible..............not lasting change anyway. I'd been able to take breaks for short periods of time. Sometimes I even managed to get months up, I think the longest was about 6 months but I always ended up picking up again. I kept thinking that it would be different this time and that I'd be able to control things. Eventually I came to the conclusion that I'd never control things and if I didn't stop...............I'd be dead. I knew this because I came way too close to it being a reality.
On the 19th October 2015 I walked into rehab at about 8.30am with a determination for change I'd never had before. There was something different. My addictions had finally beaten me. There was no joy left and using changed nothing...........it just made me feel worse. I'd walked out of the casino at 6.30am and into rehab 2 hours later. I'd been on a binge for months and the last couple of weeks were out of control even for me. I was not in a good space mentally but I just knew that there was something different this time. I didn't want drugs and alcohol to rule my life anymore. I wanted choice back. I wanted freedom. I wanted a life without addiction.
I consider the 20th October 2015 to be my clean date and today marks 7 years. It hasn't been easy but a day at a time I've managed to maintain that change. Other than high school, rehab was the first thing I'd completed in my life and it had been 20 years since high school by then. In that time I've studied, got two diplomas, and now work in the Alcohol and drug field helping others. I've repaired relationships with family and friends. I've said goodbye to some friends from the old days and others I've just never spoken to again.............were they even really friends to begin with??? I've had to make tough choices but a day at a time they've proven to be the best choices for me. Every choice I've made has been with my recovery in mind. The thing I'm proudest of is that I'm now a great father to my daughter. I've also started to live in alignment with my values. The guilt and shame have gone and and I accept my past as having helped get to the place I'm in today. I can't change my past..........but my past doesn't define me.
Change is possible and so is maintaining that change. Over the years I've learned to deal with what life throws at me. I know that if I get through today without drinking or using it will have been a good day. I know that things will improve with time. I know that tomorrow is full of all new possibilities and potential outcomes.
There's been some rough times over that 7 years. Life isn't easy and there are times where I've thought of using or drinking but I play the tape forward and think about what that would look like. One would lead to two, to three, to I don't remember what happened last night, to I've lost everything I've worked so hard for..............in rapid time. I also rely on a support network to get me through. Talking helps and there's no way I could do this alone.
Please don't give up hope. Please keep trying to make the change you're after. My favourite saying when it comes to recovery is "I failed my way to success". There were countless attempts at change. There were times I never thought it would happen. By just trying again and again and learning from what didn't work last time you can make the change and you can make the change last.............there is hope..........don't give up on yourself because you are worth the effort.
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