- Mental Health»
Living An Addiction-Free Life
Are you ready and willing to end your addiction?
A Little Background
The title is a bit misleading. I will always be an alcoholic. First I had to come to grips with the knowledge that I was an alcoholic; then I had to accept the fact that there is no cure and my addiction would be with me until my final days on this vessel of life. Those are realities I face daily. The only question, then, is how am I going to live my life knowing what I know and being who I am?
I did not choose to be an alcoholic and yet I am. I did not wake up one day and make a conscious decision to drink my life away, to toss aside twenty years of living for a bottle. When I was a little kid and then a teen, being an alcoholic was not a career choice I settled upon.
But here I am today, sixty-five years of age, with a roadmap of my life littered with empty bottles, broken promises and wasted dreams. But here I am today, sixty-five years of age, with seven years of sobriety and a love of life.
The choices we make; the paths we take.
There are those reading this right now who are addicts/alcoholics. They are reading my words and finding it incomprehensible that someone could be sober for seven days, let along seven years. How is it possible? For you see, addiction is all-encompassing. It really does completely control your life. Every waking moment is consumed by thoughts of using. Lies are told, scams devised, trust broken, all in the name of feeding the Beast and quieting the voices, and God almighty what a horrible way to live.
And yet I sit here today, the writer many of you know, completely enjoying life and no longer giving the Devil his pound of flesh.
How is it possible?
It Begins with Willingness
A decision must be made. At some point in time, if there is to be any hope at all, an alcoholic or addict must decide to stop the addiction. No one else can make that decision. No intervention can do it. No medical cure can do it.
I did not begin my road of recovery because I was afraid of death. I did not end my addictive lifestyle because I was afraid of losing everything that I held dear to me. I chose a different life because I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I had experienced the wonders of life at an early age and I wanted to experience it again. It was either that or die and I did not choose to die…I chose life. I had to be willing to go to any lengths to end the cycle of self-destruction.
Easy words to write; not so easy to live.
For those of you with an addictive personality, what I say rings true, doesn’t it? You know! Whether you have an eating addiction, a purging addiction, a sex addiction or an addiction to drugs, you know I speak the truth. We must choose to break the addictive cycle or we will die.
Then the Work Begins
Once we have declared to ourselves and the world that we are willing, the real fun begins. I say that facetiously by the way. There is no fun in breaking ourselves down, delving into our psyches, and changing our lives. There is no fun involved in tossing aside our best friend (our addiction) and going it on our own without the manufactured support of the bottle or pill. It is extremely hard work and it is frightening, and often times at the first sign of discomfort an addict will chuck it all and return to the safety of addiction.
So we try again.
For me, and I can only share MY experience, strength and hope, it required that I change my behaviors.
Today I live a very structured life. I have a daily schedule and I follow that schedule religiously. Too much down time is bad for me. My mind wanders and old stinking thinking enters it, and once that happens I become as crazy as a squirrel without nuts.
Today I live without secrets. I lived for so long in that secretive world, not allowing anyone to know that I was a very, very flawed human being. I was afraid of chastisement. I was afraid to allow others to know the real me, for if you knew who I really was you would reject me outright, and rejection is painful. Must avoid pain at all costs; must drink to numb the pain; must lie to avoid the pain. So today I tell it all. I do this to help myself; I do this to help others.
Today I love myself, and this is perhaps the greatest transformation of them all in my life. I like who I am. I have forgiven myself and asked forgiveness from those harmed. The knowledge that I am helping others through my writings fills me with the “warms and fuzzies,” and after twenty years of self-destruction, I gladly embrace the “warms and fuzzies.”
Today I live a simple life based on love for others. I find when I treat others with respect that I have a tendency to do the same with myself. I find when I have compassion for others that it is easy for me to look in a mirror. I find when I live a life of love then love comes easily and infiltrates every facet of my being.
And the End Result?
Contentment…..peace of mind….happiness….those are the gifts I have received, and because of those gifts I am able, in turn, to give of myself and become a contributing member of society and a loving partner to my wife.
I do not live with regrets, for regrets are self-defeating and really a meaningless undertaking. I cannot change the past. I cannot ask for a mulligan and have a free shot at the flag. What I have done wrong has been done. All I can do is move forward determined to do better the next time; that is all any of us can do whether we be addicts or “normies.”
Today life is good. Today life is worth living. Today in my addiction-free world, life is love.
And it can be for you as well. Are you willing? Will you do the work necessary? Would you like to discover who you really are?
If so then take my hand. I am here to help you. Contact me and I’ll be the shoulder to lean on until you can stand on your own. I am willing to do that for you, as others were willing to do it for me. That is how it works in this life….human beings helping human beings, and each of us growing stronger because of it.
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)