Yesterday marked six years that I have been clean & sober, and while I don’t really make a big deal out of it myself, I know the significance is the fact that other people in recovery can benefit by realizing that change IS possible – one day at a time.
When I was incarcerated from 1998 to 2004 in various correctional facilities in upstate New York, I started going to many Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and Gamblers Anonymous meetings because I was so disappointed with myself and upset over getting arrested for robbery, which I knew was a direct result of my past addictions to alcohol, drugs and gambling.
However, I had reservations about whether or not I was actually going to remain clean once I came home a free man, and, sure enough, about 18 months after that day finally arrived, I did suffer a relapse.
Fortunately, though, I woke up on the morning of Wednesday, October 31, 2007 (the fact that it was Halloween was a mere coincidence), and decided right then and there that I had enough of my destructive lifestyle, and finally wanted to change!
I am proud to say that I have not only refrained from using since then, but also amended other aspects of my life for the better as well.
My temper is under control, I think things through first, rather than acting out impulsively, I don’t litter, I always have a smile on my face, and perhaps, sweetest of all, I continue to spread the message of recovery to those who are still sick and suffering.
It may have taken a very long time, but I now realize that I am not responsible for my disease, but am responsible for my recovery.
Obviously, I can’t turn back the hands of time and undo the pain and aggravation I caused myself, my family, and so many others, so the next best thing is to try and be the most honorable person possible every single day going forward!
In closing, one final point I want to stress to all of you reading this right now is that, regardless of how you are feeling inside, NEVER keep things bottled up.
Either talk to someone in person, reach out on the phone, or at the very least, write down your feelings on paper.
And continue to be the role model you have become for so many people – even if you are not conscious of this fact yet yourself!