I was in active addiction for over a decade before I finally reached a point where I was ready to change. No matter what the consequences were in the past, they were never enough to make me stop using or even want to stop using.
I started with weed at age 15 and immediately fell in love with the way I felt when I was intoxicated. Soon after, I began drinking at school, taking pills, and mixing substances to get the desired effect. They say alcoholism is a progressive disease, and that definitely rings true throughout my story. Getting high occasionally and partying every now and then turned into a daily necessity and one of the only things that brought me joy and a sense of peace. I carried on living this way throughout most of my 20s with multiple periods of homelessness, several treatment centers, sober living, and overdoses along the way.
In this current sobriety, I have reflected a lot on what happened in the past and what needed to be different this time. A big one for me was always having this notion and desire to be anything but alcoholic. I used every excuse and rationalization possible to wiggle my way out of sticky situations and manipulated myself and everyone around me into believing the lie that I “didn’t have a problem” or “it was just a mistake” and of course, “it will be different this time”.
While I wish all of that were true it just isn’t the case for me. I have learned to embrace my disease and have found purpose in helping others like me. I used to think that I was ‘terminally unique’ and that always drove me away from sobriety. I would go to meetings and point out all of the differences in order to build my case. It wasn’t until I shut my mouth and opened my ears that I started to hear my story through other people and actually identify with other alcoholics.
Since I was 18, I've been in and out of programs and meetings and as I mentioned before, I had absolutely no desire to get sober. I’ve taken more newcomer chips than I’d like to admit, however, I’m grateful for my journey because it has brought me to where I am today. After years of fighting, I finally became willing to make a change. I saw where my life was headed if I continued down the path I was on and it didn’t look good. I barely made it to my 25th birthday. Yet again I was given the gift of desperation and another opportunity to get my life back on track. It came in the form of a Los Angeles sober living called New Life House.
All of my previous times and experiences with treatment and recovery were merely to get people off my back. This time it was to save my life. At first, I still didn’t want to admit that I was an alcoholic, despite the fact that I had just gotten out of the hospital after another overdose. Thankfully, the program I went through was full of young men exactly like me. The only difference was that they were changing and I was not. By talking to my peers and making friends, I began to realize I had been blocking out all of the reasons why I am an alcoholic. I wanted to prove everyone wrong so severely that it blinded me from the truth about myself.
Shortly after this revelation and coming to terms with my truth, I started to work a program. It was not easy to go from living independently to being surrounded by a group of alcoholics 24/7.
That being said, New Life House became my home and I’ve made lifelong friends throughout my stay. The program is based heavily on the 12 steps and community which is exactly what I needed. I would always look at the steps on the wall at meetings and always said to myself, “Not a chance”. This time around I realized that I had nothing left to lose and everything to gain from trying it out.
The experience I had and continue to have while working the 12 steps is life-changing. I’ve noticed that I need to stay active in my program, go to meetings, live honestly, and constantly seek spiritual growth. Otherwise, I lose sight of where I came from, distance myself from people, and start to think I can do it on my own.
Being surrounded by like-minded people and witnessing their lives being changed throughout the process inspired me to take a leap of faith. As a result, my life has been completely changed for the better. The relationships with my family and friends are actively being restored and I can honestly say that I love my life today.
After almost 2 years sober, my life looks completely different and better than I ever thought it could. In the past, I couldn't keep a job, hold a relationship, be honest, or feel happiness. AA has given me a purpose and gifted me a life that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Today I am actively pursuing a career in digital marketing, have my own apartment, work with sponsers, and wake up every morning grateful that I’m sober and excited for what is to come. It’s all thanks to AA and sober living programs like New Life House.
If you or a family member need help finding support - reach out to Alex.
Clear Recovery Center