Looking back on my sobriety and it’s development, there was always the hurdle of acceptance of my alcoholism that I kept tripping over, no matter how much I thought I had moved past the issue. It was incredibly easy for me to rationalize the idea that I had gone through a phase of the consequences of my actions being circumstantial. Or I was not like the other people I saw surrounding me in Alcoholics Anonymous.
Prior to having the decision of sobriety thrusted upon me I was a senior at UC Davis, six classes away from my degree in Managerial Economics. I had entered Davis on a track and field scholarship, which ended due to injury, and maintained pretty decent grades. I had job offers pending my graduation. I had tried drugs just a handful of times and towards the end only drank once a week. A seemingly normal college student, right? Well, not so much – those are simply the accolades I chose to hide behind as a means to separate myself from my new peers in recovery. The reality was, by the time I entered the rooms of AA, I had a court case containing three pending felonies, a bail which had reached $100,000, and a family who was stuck in a state of fear and helplessness. I may have only went out and drank one night that week, but I didn’t and couldn’t stop, until I went asleep in a jail cell.
I decided to use my positive accomplishments I had accumulated to that point in my life as a shelter from the negative truths that I had gotten into as a result of my actions. I was convinced that if I could make it through the court case I could jump back into the part of my life I was happy with and ignore what had happened. I was simply unwilling to recognize any possibility that a better, happier life existed, let alone the idea that sobriety would be the path that led me there.
This attitude only took me so far, until I eventually decided to fully give AA and sobriety a shot. Though honestly, I originally did so in order to prove to everyone it did not work. As I worked through each of the twelve steps with my sponsor, I began to see a purpose behind the concepts of AA and it’s way of life. That purpose eventually melded with my purposes and concepts in life and all of a sudden I began looking at things in a different light. At home, how could I help someone else out with what they are struggling with? In AA, how could I help out the meeting and be an example for those that are new? At work, how can I create a positive experience for my customers and brighten their day? A shift had occurred in my approach to life and its situations. I began to see things in terms of benefits for others rather than myself, and I began to feel good as a result. Not only that, but I had developed an awareness of my own actions; I had the ability to pause on the verge of anger or fear, I was immediately aware when I had taken a wrong action and knew what I had to do to amend my wrong. I had become the best version of myself I had ever known. Not only that, but I was having fun, and I saw no reason to reincorporate alcohol back into my life for any reason.
Today, 17 months sober, this positively shifted way of life has become the norm. I do have days where things don’t go my way, or I make mistakes, but I have an awareness of what it is that I need to do in order to restore myself and my attitude to where I am most happy, and that is something I could honestly not say a year and a half ago.