The road to recovery for me has been a long one. I was sixteen the first time I tried to get sober and twenty-five when I entered rehab this last time.
The time spent between was a never ending merry-go-round of me building my life up just so I could tear it back down and it always ended with me pulling out my hair wondering why I was so miserable. People would ask me, “What happened? Why can’t you get it? What’s wrong with you?” and I couldn’t give them an answer. The truth is, I have always been so dishonest to everyone that I ever came in contact with that no one knew how to help me.
One of the biggest differences in my sobriety this time in contrast to the last times that I tried to get clean is the fact that I have built up a conscience and I have the ability to tell my peers what is really going on with me. From the very beginning, back when I was sixteen they asked me, “Do you think that you’re an alcoholic?” and I said “yes” without hesitation. I said yes because I wanted to fit in, and I knew that’s what they wanted to hear, but if I were to have answered honestly the answer would have been vastly different. So as a result, right from the start, I never got to work through the struggle of not truthfully admitting that I had a problem with drugs and alcohol, and had no platform to build my sobriety on.
That is just one aspect of how dishonesty held me back from actually growing and getting sober but it really encompassed most of my life. There are many different forms of dishonesty but all of them turn into secrets. Secrets, in my opinion, are one of the biggest reasons why people end up relapsing. For example, the first time I relapsed after having a good amount of time sober could have been completely prevented if I had been willing to be honest. I had around 3 years of sobriety at the time and had a secret. The secret was that I really wanted to drink on my upcoming twenty-first birthday and had a lot of regret that I wasn’t going to be able to I was never willing to tell a soul about it though.
My twenty-first birthday came and I was on my way home from a meeting and stopped at the same store that I had stopped at pretty much every day for the last 8 months to buy cigarettes. I went in to buy my smokes and walked out with two shots of alcohol. If I would have just told someone prior to my birthday about the fact that I had this secret desire to drink that day, I know for a fact a ton of my friends would have surrounded and supported me and got me through the day sober. But that morning when everyone asked me how I was doing, I did what I always did and told them I was fine.
Changing this defect of mine was not easy and it took a lot of work to get to the other side of it, but I can say that, without a doubt, it is not only the reason that I am still sober, but also the reason why I am happy and content with who I am today. Until now, no one ever really knew who I was – they only saw the person that I wanted them to see. But now all of my friends and family know the real me and I no longer have to hide behind all of the masks that I have had on for so much of my life. The truth will set you free has never sounded so true to me.