What if I was to say, “Becoming an addict or alcoholic, then getting sober, could be one of the best things to ever happen to you?” You would probably think to yourself, Yeah I don’t think so buddy; that was the worst thing that ever happened to me! Well, I totally disagree! And I will tell you why.
There is a saying, “Behind every cloud is a silver lining.” I believe this to be true, especially as it pertains to sobriety. First, there were dark clouds of despair (addiction), then there was light and hope (recovery).
Out of this darkness, a new person is revealed in the light. A person of strength, character and resolve. This new person was forged from defeating an addiction that threatened to kill them.
Examine the addict that’s in recovery; they have faced challenges that most people will never have to endure. To recover from addiction requires immense courage and strength. The obstacles of the physical addiction, coupled with the brain being rewired, appear almost beyond human capability to recover from. They’re not! And when you do recover, you are changed forever because you have conquered one of the most difficult adversaries a human can go up against: addiction.
After recovering, an addict has proven to themselves that they can face any adversity in life no matter what the circumstance. Many, however, don’t give themselves enough credit for winning this battle. You should view yourself in a different way, and realize that you now possess incredible strength and courage. It’s important for you to acknowledge this change in you, and understand that you have tapped into resources you never knew existed, such as character, strength, and courage.
So, why is this important to me?
Many recovering addicts/alcoholics feel beaten down and somewhat discouraged, probably due to the stigma they are now shackled with and the wreckage they have done. You can’t let this be your dogma! Don’t join that group. There are some who don’t feel this way after becoming sober, and who don’t let this stigma bog them down. For those of you who don’t feel that way, I commend you. But it takes time to get there for most.
There is an easy fix for this feeling of malaise: look in the mirror and study your face for a moment. Think of how hard you had to work to get clean from addiction. Allow yourself to feel proud. More importantly, tell yourself you have seen the worst and overcame it. After going through what you have, nothing will be too difficult for you in the future.
What has happened is that you have actually joined an elite group of people who have been to hell and back and survived. Gather strength from this, and make it a positive in your life. There are many people who have overcome their addictions then went on to do great things. Maybe even greater things than they would have achieved had they not been changed by their struggle with addiction.
You can find these people everywhere in life if you look. Google famous people who have recovered from addiction, and you will be surprised by the amount of people you find.
Also, observe people at meetings who have long-term sobriety. Pay attention to what they share and what their life is like now. You will be inspired by their stories and their successes in life.
Getting sober was the biggest battle of your life, and you won! What could possibly hinder you in life now? Nothing! You are a battle-tested warrior who claimed victory; go wherever your dreams take you. Sure, there will be troubles in life, there always are, but now, no matter what happens, you will be able to handle those setbacks. Take this new strength you have earned and go forward with confidence.
Ok, that sounds great, but where do I go?
Good question. Unfortunately, I have no answer for that. Where you go will be entirely up to you. Do you you need to go back to school and get your degree? Do you to aspire to get a promotion at work? Are you looking for a new career? Do you want to fall in love and get married? Maybe you always wanted to start your own business, or become a singer in a band. Life is full of opportunities now that you are sober, so don’t limit yourself.
Everyone has something they would like to do, but they are afraid to try because they may fail. This fear of failure paralyzes people and guarantees that they will fail by default. You should consider yourself excluded from this group because, after what you have accomplished, there is no reason to fear anything. You can rationalize this to be true given what you have had to conquer.
You are out of the dark now and into the light, so embrace this new station in life. Pick something you are passionate about. Pick something daring. You can handle it now. Why choose something you know you are capable of? Instead, aspire to do something that will challenge you. In general, things that are hardest to accomplish give us the most pride and satisfaction in life.
We all have dreams that we put aside because we think we aren’t capable of making them come true. I suggest people in recovery revisit some of those dreams and consider if they can become a reality. Maybe, now with a renewed spirit and more confidence, you can make them happen.
You won’t know if you don’t try, and you aren’t afraid of anything. Right?
My point here is to demonstrate that there is a good side to addiction, but it’s only revealed once you become sober. Going through addiction and coming out on the other side will embolden you if you allow it to.
I can personally attest to this. After I left the Sober Living Home I was managing, I wanted to write a book about my experiences. I wanted the world to know more about what we addicts/alcoholics are going through. My problem was that I had never written anything, and to make matters worse, I was horrible at punctuation and grammar. I was very passionate about the reason for writing this book, so I decided to do it anyway.
I sat down and started sketching out some ideas but became discouraged and almost quit. I thought, I am not a writer, and I will embarrass myself by writing a terrible book. Then I went outside for a walk and had an epiphany: I could hire someone to help me write my book. So, I did just that, and now my book is nearly complete.
I sincerely doubt I would have been that courageous prior to becoming an addict/alcoholic. Deep inside, there is now a voice talking to me saying, you can do this! Don’t run away just because it’s going to be hard. I called on my new strength and self-belief to inspire me. Despite my doubts, I decided to make my dream a reality.
To me, becoming an addict/alcoholic was both a curse and a blessing. But what’s most important is that I have been able to tap into the courage it took to get sober. Now, I use it everyday of my life.
Make your new mantra, “I can do anything I put my mind to.” You already proved this to be true when you beat addiction and got sober.