At the age of 18, I lost my grandmother, who was one of my primary guardians and mentors. Although I had a great childhood full of love and support, her death sent me on a downward spiral. I began drinking excessively, which led to activities that landed me in a terrible and difficult existence. Years of drinking and drug use, coupled with homelessness and jail, finally made me want to search for a better way to live.
Being a veteran and utilizing resources (treatment, healthcare, and sober-living housing) has helped save my life several times. I was introduced to a 12-step program. Looking to fill my need to serve and to be content in all areas of my life, I found a deeper spiritual connection. I’ve found such a positive and deep relationship with nature, God, and others. Now, those connections remind me I’m a part of something bigger than myself.
I pray and meditate several times a day. I ensure that all of my decisions and goals align with who I want to be for others and, most importantly, for myself. The 12-step program and meaningful work give me the skills to redirect all negative incoming thoughts and change the outcome of my journey.
I truly enjoy helping people, but once I learned boundaries and put my own health before others, I found I could help people without co-dependency. I have decided to reenroll in school and use my skills to help others who struggle with the same issues that I had to overcome.
No one pulled up in a parking lot and dropped this life on me; it’s taken a decade of hard work. I fought life and death for it – no failure, just many trials and errors. Getting high used to be my full-time job, and it was exhausting. I realized this after years of trying to recover: the pain of changing was much less than the pain of staying the same.
I had to first ask myself – and I invite you to ask yourself, too: “Am I worthy of success? And what do I do to achieve mine?”
Once I honestly thought about that and found my answer, I could focus on moving forward to reach my fullest potential. I have so many goals and aspirations now, and I have the possibility of fulfilling them! There’s not a better life I could imagine.