Top Ten List
Waking up shivering, sweating, crying, feeling like bugs were crawling under my skin. This is how I used to wake up. The nightmares I had as I slept were nothing compared to the nightmare of my life. Hope, I didn’t have any. My future was over before it began. I never thought I’d see my 21st birthday, I didn’t want to see my 21st birthday.
1,012 days. That is how long I have been living a blessing. These days were never promised to me, tomorrow isn’t promised to me. I have been sober for the last two and a half years, every single day I have on this earth is a blessing. I’ve learned as well as anyone that life can be taken at any moment.
In the last six months alone, I have lost five friends to drugs and alcohol. To other people they are simply a statistic. To me, they are victims of a war they never had a chance to win. They were my friends; they are my friends. This is not how I want my life to end. I refuse to be another statistic.
On August 27th, 2013, an amazing friend of mine drove over 1,000 miles to help me. The next day, the first day I was 100% sober, we turned around and drove over 1,000 miles back to Tucson, AZ. As we were driving in the middle of nowhere, bugs started crawling under my skin; I wanted to tear my skin off. I couldn’t stop crying; to this day I still have no idea why I was crying. He would look over and ask if I was ok, I would kind of laugh and tell him that I had no idea what was wrong. I should have been happy. The gratitude I feel for this friend is unexplainable. He probably saved my life.
The first time I took an intoxicant was perfect. It was a bright, sunny day in Cambridge, England. Sitting in a meadow, smoking a joint, I thought life was perfect. The first time I used heroin was perfect. I was in a dark, damp, cold basement in a city I didn’t know. I thought life was perfect.
Perfection is in the eye of the beholder. To some, being absolutely numb is perfection.
I’m a drug addict. I’m an alcoholic. Until the day I die I will be both of those things. Sobriety doesn’t equal remission, while I have had a reprieve from my disease for almost three years; if I ever pick up alcohol or a drug again, I will still be addicted to the both of them. My addictions no longer run my life, but they helped to form the person I am today. I am grateful for every day I am sober, but in a way I’m grateful to be an alcoholic. Without my disease, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
Going to college, that wasn’t supposed to be in the cards for me. I was supposed to be in prison or in a grave. Through a power greater than myself I have been able to accomplish things I am extremely proud of throughout my sobriety. I graduated high school, I was excepted to college, I got a 4.0 GPA in my first semester in school. I am proud of these accomplishments. Others may see them as small feats; but to someone like me, these small feats mean the world.
I am not my disease and my disease is not me. We are two separate beings. I hate my disease, but I thank my disease for making me the man I am today. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned through my disease has been that life can be taken at any moment, I could die tomorrow. But, I don’t need to be concerned with that. All I need to do is live for today, the rest will come.
More important than anything else I’ve said, pray for those who still suffer. There are so many adjectives to describe how addicts are terrible people. But they are still people. They suffer from a disease. I’m not saying it is easy to have an addict in your life. Whether it’s your mother, father, brother, sister, friend; I can promise you they hate themselves for what they do. They just don’t know a different way. Today, I am one of the lucky few, statistics say that I will not stay sober for my entire life. If I relapse, please pray for me like you pray for addicts in your life. We are all people. Love can truly change the world.