When I came into the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous 17 months ago, my life was falling apart from the inside out. I was scared, angry, and depressed; I felt there was little hope for the future. I blamed the world for my misery; it wasn’t my fault that no one understood me.
Looking back on this time in my life I became curious as to why I was so miserable. It occurred to me that, despite being completely physically dependent upon and addicted to drugs and alcohol, the outside circumstances of my life were not as bad as I had made them out to be. I had a car, I had friends, and I was going to school. To an outsider, it might have looked like I wasn’t doing half bad.
I thought that the drugs were the issue – if I could only stop using heroin, all of the problems that I had in life would go away. This much I was convinced of. Everything that I ever wanted would surely fall into my lap with abstinence. It wasn’t until I came into my 5th rehab center, 60 days removed from drugs and alcohol and more miserable then ever, that I came to realize the problem might be deeper.
It wasn’t until I began to get into the program of Alcoholics Anonymous and began practicing spiritual principles that things started to change. I started to see things differently and life began to seem less hopeless. I started to enjoy things that I didn’t prior to sobriety. The things that I didn’t want to do, like laundry or dishes were no longer such a burden.
I learned that the problem was about my thinking. This is why, sober or not, I was miserable. Through this program, my whole life has changed. I view my life in a completely different fashion today. It is no longer about what I can get out of a situation, but what I can contribute. It is funny because when looking at my life before and after on paper, there really isn’t that much of a difference. I have all of the material things that I had before, but I am able to enjoy my life today. I am going back to school soon, I have a job and a car, but most of all I can genuinely say that I am happy.
By no means is my life perfect, but I take it seriously and I try to learn as much as I can. I try to view the situations in my life as opportunities rather then obligations.
If I had known that AA had so much to offer, I would have done something differently sooner. All that it took was a little bit of faith in something that I did not understand and the willingness to take action. It was uncomfortable but I had people there to walk me through it every step of the way. These people are my best friends today, and I take pride in giving back what was so freely given to me. This is the most rewarding part of my life today. I have found my place in the ability to help and relate to someone who was just like me 17 months ago.
-Conner M., New Life House Graduate