“Last year I came home from San Diego State University to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family. We usually go to our family friends’ house and eat there. We went, and everyone ate except I could only eat a little because I never had an appetite and just wanted to get back home so I could meet up with my girlfriend and get high or get drunk. I didn’t care about my family at all; I wasn’t grateful for anything at all, I just wanted what I wanted which was to drink and use drugs into oblivion, only to wake up and repeat the process. And I did just that. It wasn’t fun anymore at this point; it was a chore that I had to maintain. A “duty” that I could feel had complete control of me and would eventually kill me unless I stopped, which was not a realistic option in my mind at the time. After that Thanksgiving, I went back to school where my addiction dragged me into more overdoses, more misery and eventually another arrest that would wind me up in San Diego County jail for a little under a week. Then I got suspended from school, kicked out of my living situation, and had nothing of value to live for other than getting high and drunk.
This Thanksgiving is worlds different from that short time of a year ago.
With my new sobriety and extreme gratitude for this house and my chance at a beautiful life, my perspective has shifted entirely. No longer do I want to ditch my family for a drug or a drink, no longer do I live a prisoner to material things in life, no longer do I live only to drink and use drugs. I wake up every day now, appreciating the little things in life like the blue sky, or the sound of birds in the morning, or the sight of trees blowing in the wind. I can look at the world around me and see the beauty in it. I can pick my head up and see the beauty of life for what it really is. Last Thanksgiving I was not thankful for a thing at all. I was surrounded by family and friends and good food and laughs and smiles and a good time, but I could not see any of that. I was blinded. I was unable to appreciate the present moment because I was overtaken by craving. It ruled me, and I was a prisoner. This year is different because I am thankful for so many things that I didn’t have a capacity for last year. I have a family that cares about me. I have a house full of guys that care about me. I have good food in front of me every day, and I wake up in sunny California every morning. I can wake up and instead of looking at everything that I have against me or that is a burden to me, I can see the light and the beauty in everything. I can appreciate everyone for who they are and every situation for what it is. My head is not full of drugs anymore, and my heart is now filled with love and gratitude that if you told me I would have a year ago, I would tell you that you were crazy.”