It seems like only yesterday I was celebrating two years free from alcohol and drugs, since time goes by so quickly for me when I am clean and sober!
I woke up this morning with six and a half years now clean, and to say it feels good would be a major understatement.
When I go to deliver a motivational & inspirational speech at drug treatment programs, jails, schools, and other venues, one of my favorite lines to demonstrate how far I have come in life is this: “I have been to hell and back so many times that the post office started forwarding my mail there without requiring a change of address form filled out first!”
While this, of course, is not literally true, it does represent how badly my life had become when I was actively drinking and taking drugs.
I destroyed my career in broadcast journalism, ruined relationships with family and friends, harmed my physical health, and managed to get locked up behind bars for nearly six long years, all because I was living with such low self-esteem and didn’t care enough about myself as a human being.
It wasn’t until October 31, 2007 that I finally decided to turn my life around, once and for all, and voluntarily walked into the Coney Island Hospital Chemical Dependency Program in my hometown of Brooklyn, New York, and asked for help.
I had to swallow my pride and admit that my addiction was more powerful than I am, but I can say today that it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
However, although I have now been clean and sober for these six and a half years, I am also well aware of the fact that true recovery is more than just abstaining from the use of alcohol, drugs, or any other mind-altering substance.
Recovery includes repairing one’s negative character defects, which, in my particular case, means refraining from having a temper, thinking that I am better than everyone else, being selfish and only out for myself, isolating, instead of spending time with others, cursing, littering, and just not acting in a professional manner in general.
In this respect, my recovery is a lifelong process, and helps keep me grounded on a daily basis.
Furthermore, by sharing my story and helping spread the message of recovery, it provides unlimited amounts of positive self-esteem, both for myself and others, which is a win-win situation for everyone involved.
I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I do know several things.
Firstly, I am definitely not the same person I was for many years of my life, which I am very proud to say.
Secondly, I refuse to dwell on the past, on what my life could have been, had I not become an alcoholic and drug addict, since that is not only water under the bridge, but would serve no useful purpose either.
Finally, I feel good knowing that I am waking up each and every morning clean and sober, ONE DAY AT A TIME, and have people in my life who trust me and value my opinion on things.
It’s all about self-esteem and feeling worthy of another human’s love that fuels my desire to be the best person I can possibly be.
We only go through life once, and for this former alcoholic and drug addict, doing it right is what it’s all about!