An Ex-Addict Looks at His 39th Birthday
I came into this world on August 14th, 1981.
My life wasn’t always easy. I was born into a good family, lived in a great town, had everything I ever wanted and needed. On the day I was born, my family envisioned a happy and successful life for me, however, they couldn’t foresee the path I would take to get there. I was almost got taken out of this world so many times because of poor decision-making, selfishness, mindless self-indulgence, and a fair amount of narcissism.
On my 39th birthday, I look back on my life (as I do every year) and remind myself of where I’ve been and look forward to where I’m going. This year brought a lot of changes for me… a new job, moved across the country, and took one giant leap of faith after the next to better my life and the lives of those I love.
I had a love/hate relationship with myself for quite some time. I definitely had my own struggles. After being hopelessly addicted to drugs and after many failed attempts at rehab, I’d find myself relapsed again, looking like hell, and not even recognizing myself in the mirror. I would say I loved myself for who I could have been and hated who I’d become. I not only hated who I had become but I hated what I stood for. I stood for lies. I stood for manipulation. I stood for stealing and I stood for anything that would allow me to stay high, numb, and utterly irresponsible. I stayed that way for years, that is until I finally got clean.
Once getting clean I realized the desolate path I had taken. I realized the damage I had caused and the so-called “error of my ways.” Getting clean from drugs was an eye-opening experience. I realized that life was hard enough without drugs and the thing is, drugs didn’t make life any easier. I was completely unaware of how hard life was because I never truly lived while I was addicted. I drifted around, an empty vessel, going from one place to the next. Even though my body was present, I was gone. I was somewhere else, completely checked out.
Getting clean, for me, was more than just not using drugs anymore. It was even more than a complete lifestyle overhaul; it was learning how to live for the first time. Sobriety was learning how to have interpersonal relationships, how to be honest, respectful, and how to care for myself and others. Sobriety allowed me to shatter my narcissistic viewpoints and take on a pan-determined approach to life, which is helping to save society as a whole. Sobriety was about learning how to love and to have compassion.
“This could very easily have been one of the toughest times of the year for my family, but instead, it’s a celebration of life. It’s a celebration of a life saved, and that life helping to save others.”
I honestly should be dead. During the nights, days, and weeks of consuming more drugs than anyone’s body should be able to tolerate, I should have died of an overdose. I should have died when running through bad neighborhoods looking for dope. I should have died in so many circumstances. But I didn’t. I lived. I believe I lived to fulfill some purpose in this life.
As I look at my 39th birthday, I am not only living, but I’m helping to save others from the same fate I once had.
Instead of mourning my death on my birthday, I get to celebrate life with my family and loved ones. This could very easily have been one of the toughest times of the year for my family, but instead, it’s a celebration of life. It’s a celebration of a life saved, and that life helping to save others.
To anyone still struggling out there, I get it. But know you don’t have to die; you don’t have to continue living in the waking nightmare your life has become. You too can join me in enjoying life, being sober, and giving back.
My birthday wish this year is that anyone reading this reaches out to get help for themselves or a loved one. Don’t continue one more day dealing with something that can be addressed now.
If I could get sober, anyone can.
All My Best,