This is the story of how recovering from my addiction helped me succeed in life. Over five years ago my life was completely different. It was a mess; I was a mess. Everywhere I went I was reminded of what I didn’t have.
I remember one time going to the grocery store slumped over my shopping cart as I walked the aisles. My wallet was practically empty from my constant need for more drugs, and I scavenged the store for food that I could afford. As I bumped into a woman with my shopping cart, she apologized enthusiastically with a smile. The smile was not returned; I wanted to punch her in the face! Here she was with her full shopping cart of food, her fancy clothes, and probably a life of happiness she didn’t even work for. It seemed happiness was something I didn’t deserve, and I hated everyone for it. I was in denial that my choices were directly affecting me, and instead I felt sorry for myself. I blamed the world for my failures, my heartaches, and my empty wallet. It wasn’t until I admitted that I had a drug addiction and accepted responsibility for my actions that I could move forward in life and become successful.
Addictions are parasites that suck the life right out of us. They start out small with minimal consequences, but then they grow. My addiction trapped me. At first I had a grip on it, “I will only use once a week,” turned into all the time. Little by little, I stopped making the rules; the drugs made the rules. The more I used, the more I fell apart both physically and mentally. My body couldn’t take much more, and every day felt like I was running a marathon in mud. The people around me voiced concern, and I retaliated with anger. My relationships began to crumble, and what bothered me most was I didn’t seem to care at all. As my life fell apart, I grumbled that the world had dealt me a poor hand. I was too scared to admit what the drugs were doing to me. Knowing that truth meant I would have to stop using, but it was hard to deny their effect when I lay passed out on the ground instead of at work. As I lost my job, friends, and stability, I faced the painful truth; I had done this. My choices had gotten me here.
I had always known what needed to be done, but reaching the bottom is what fueled my fire to quit my drug addiction. Quitting an addiction is no easy task. I had given weak attempts to quit before, but this time was different. I knew I couldn’t do it alone, and I got a support system behind me. My life immediately began to change. My relationships grew stronger than ever, I got a career, and I found myself laughing and even smiling at people in grocery stores. My life was suddenly successful in every single aspect of the word. Was it easy? No, it was hell. At times I felt like my body was ripping apart, but every day that passed, my body and mind grew stronger. I filled my life with positive energy and healthy lifestyle choices. When the stress would build, I did yoga and relaxation techniques.
It has been five years, and every single day that goes by I am grateful for choosing to change. Now as a counselor, I get to share my experience with others battling similar addictions. It breaks my heart to watch people suffer through the first few months, but I hold their hand and give them hope of a brighter and happier future. It took conquering my addiction to get me where I am today. Without suffering through the withdrawals, I wouldn’t have the knowledge or experience to counsel my patients. Alcoholics and addicts can become sober, and I get to be a part of the process. The future was bleak, and I tremble to think about where I would be if I hadn’t quit. Defeating an addiction was the most empowering thing I have and will ever do. Knowing what I went through gives me the confidence to get through anything. Recovering through my addiction made me the successful person I am today.