Tomorrow will be seven years clean.
I used to sit in the AA, NA, CMA, etc rooms while I was on probation, and just be simply blown away at the people that have 5, 7, 10, 20 years clean. However, I did think that taking smoke breaks in the middle of an addiction support group seemed oxymoronic. Nevertheless, I was still astonished at the time.
Today when I look back, it seems like time has flown by! I have been spending the last little while looking back at some of the things that I have done, and some of the places I have been and it is amazing.
Still, the importance of what I have and the value of this success is not built by me alone, nor is it only for me. This is a conglomerate of people that have influenced me and helped me. Some before my sobriety date, and others after. Some negative people have pushed me further along my path, and other positive people have helped carry me through the hard times.
This blog post has been set up in order to help give back to everyone that will take the time to read it.
In today’s post, I want to say thanks to some of the people who have helped me along my path.
I want to say thanks to my parents. They helped me understand a guiding principle that I pass on to so many people, and if you stay around long enough you will hear it multiple times. That principle is that we can’t live someone into sobriety, but that doesn’t mean that we should stop loving them. Sometimes it may be hard to do so, but I have learned, from being an addict, that when I got clean the most important thing that anyone ever did for me was simply love me. No one did this better than my parents, and I think that it is beyond valuable for us to love the person struggling with addiction, or if you are an addict, recognize the individuals who do love you.
Next, I really would like to thank my immediate family. I met the woman who is now my wife in the midst of my addiction. She was not an addict. This is one of the sole reasons that I went to see her upon my release. She has the most wonderful little girl. Almost instantly I fell in love. That little girl becomes my rock in early sobriety. It was a short time after that where we discovered that we were having another child. Experiencing the journey of a child has been one of the most rewarding life events I have ever had. When my, now soon to be the middle girl, was born… I finally knew what it meant to unconditionally love somebody.
My wife has been the biggest supporter of my post addict life. She has been one of the strongest women I have seen. On top of the issues that we all face in our lives, she is able to make sure that we have a well cared for home, that our children are taken care of to the best of our ability, and that we have a stable life. She has selflessly provided a foundation for me to be able to do all the wonderful things that I do. I could not have gone this far, this fast without her constant support since the first day that I arrived at her house, and I will spend the rest of my life trying to do the same for her! For the record, she didn’t even recognize me that first day that I showed up at her house, haha.
I have a number of friends who have constantly been therefore me as well. Most I hardly talk to now, but a couple I still do. One of my best friends growing up, I had as the best man at my wedding. This is a guy that I know has my best interest at heart and If I ever needed anything, I could count on him.
Now there has been a number of people that have had negative impacts on my life. Mostly a number of friends who I have grown close to then farther away from. Mostly because I have learned from the poison that these people have, and despite some behavioral lapses, I have been able to be self-aware of the behavior as I stop and redirect myself. I do believe that when we are able to do this that we become much stronger in whatever behavior that we are attempting to curb; addiction. These people, while seemingly being poisonous, have been able to teach me lessons that only life seems to be able too.
We know what is good for us and what isn’t. We are aware of what we need to do to keep ourselves on the right path and make the changes that will make us better people. Sometimes we just need that push. Sometimes that push can come from people that we least expect.
The most bizarre thing about recovery is that it is both selfish, and selfless. We have to be selfish before we can be selfless because we are no good to others unless we have taken care of ourselves. This statement also means that no one can do this for us. We have to do it ourselves, but we can’t do this alone either.
These people have played an instrumental role in my recovery and in the success that I have seen in my post addicted life. Unfortunately, the way this goes is that I will wind up missing someone, but that doesn’t mean that they are less influential or that their contributions are less significant. Instead, the idea is to get people thinking about who has been a part of their journey, how they have been instrumental, and why thanks should be given.
Constantly evaluate the people around you. Give thanks to those that deserve it, and be aware of the negative people that have taught you something. Grow from the experiences and move forward.
And if you need any help. I will be here. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need.