What has surprised you the most about sober living?
That I really wasn’t born under a black cloud. The bad choices I made determined the things that were happening to me in life, as the good choices I’m making now are determining all the great things that are happening now. There are so many people out there who want to help. I spoke at a fundraiser and mentioned that my one problem today was that I needed a car to get back and forth to work. A wonderful woman donated one for me. I would have never imagined all this great stuff to be happening to me, and it wouldn’t be if I wasn’t doing the next right thing.
What is your greatest joy today?
My family and my granddaughter. She loves her nanny and loves to spend time with me. If I were using I would be missing all the joy she brings to my life. I’m currently in my 16-year- old’s life. He’s living with my mother, but I’m there and I help as much as I can financially. I gave my kids a great Christmas – the first time in many years I was able to do that and enjoy it clean. I have earned trust back from my family and friends — my word means something today.
What new hobbies have you explored in Recovery?
I’m willing to try anything once. I’ve tried disc golfing, yoga and working out at the gym (which I need to get back into). The fact that I’m present in everything I do now means a lot to me and the people I care about.
What tool(s) do you rely on when you’re having a bad day?
I rely a lot on my memories and how much I do not want to go back to that dark place in my life. I go to meetings regularly and talk to other addicts. I belong to different Facebook groups where people talk about their experiences, whether they are active in addiction, have family that are, or are in recovery. That keeps the memories alive on how bad things were and could be again if I pick up. I also created a relapse prevention plan while in rehab and listed supportive people that I can count on it if need be. Bad days are few and far between, and I’ve learned skills to deal with them differently then I did before.
What advice do you have for someone just starting their journey in recovery?
Take it one day at a time and never think “I’ve got this,” because once you do, you start relaxing on the things that got you clean in the first place. Meetings and sober people in your life are very important. Take advice. Ask for help. It’s OK to need somebody. Self-care is important and it’s OK to be selfish when it comes to your recovery.