I didn’t think I’d be able to feel good or be happy without heroin. I went to a lunchtime 12 Step meeting hours after that breakfast because I desperately wanted to stop drinking. I attended daily weekday meetings while I researched my problem on the internet. I also emailed a sober friend from my home town who had helped me before.
Her history of addiction started in 1989 when she was prescribed Vicodin after minor plastic surgery. I can’t tell you how many messages I got in the beginning from people who told me how I’ve inspired them to maybe not get sober but to live their best life. Or telling me that they’ve had family members who have died from this or are struggling, and when they see me succeeding with it, it gives them hope that their family member or friend can succeed. Being sober doesn’t mean your life is over. Many times when we see posts about sobriety, it’s always famous people or before-and-afters of people being a mess and then cleaning up their lives.
I had always been handled with kid gloves, but they challenged me to find out what makes me tick. By the grace of God my wife called Kevin Mikolazyk from the Herren Project – she’s a teacher and Chris had spoken at her school – who helped me get into treatment in Florida. I didn’t really realize what was happening, but I knew I could never say no to anything. I was one of those people who if someone put something in front of me, I would take it. Don feels that he relapsed because his spirituality was missing. Don initially rejected the concept of a higher power.
There’s got to be that internal surrender for sobriety to happen. It keeps you really connected to other people. A lot of my friends were able to use drugs and go to school and still succeed, but it became my every thought. sobriety success stories Every second of the day, all I wanted was to have that feeling again. I’m the youngest of four children, and I grew up in a loving household. I was the baby of the family and I was treated as such – with a lot of love.
Some experts suggest that people in recovery are happier than their non-alcoholic peers. I don’t try to dull my enthusiasm for fear of being ‘too much.’ I’m not afraid to use my voice to advocate for what I believe in my heart is right.
“At 38, I had what looked like an enviable life. I worked at a prestigious law firm in New York City, lived in a great apartment, and had a tight set of family and friends. But I also had an awful secret—an alcohol and cocaine addiction that had worsened to the point of drinking and using around the clock. I was what’s known as a high-functioning addict, looking like a relatively normal person to the outside world.
I went to university and on the first social occasion (a university union vodka promotion!) realised that alcohol would provide me with ‘Dutch courage’. Surreal even, to think back to when we opened our first sober house https://ecosoberhouse.com/ in St. Petersburg, and to see all the men, families, and friends that have been touched by our community. Dom’s drinking was abnormal out the gate at 14 years old. Stuck in a cycle of achieving success and self-sabotage.
Recovery has made my life better in every way possible and I am proud to share that with the world. “I came home and I decided to find a therapist for treatment. I told her all of my problems and she said I was an alcoholic. ‘I have highlights and a French manicure, there’s no way I’m an alcoholic.
I rationalized that the vomiting might be due to food poisoning. By the morning, I was severely dehydrated and could barely stand. I called in sick, the first time ever in my life. The second night, I began to have diarrhea with old, digested blood in it. The next morning I awoke with my heart racing, unable to get up off the floor, realizing that this was the end of the run. I clearly remember three distinct thoughts. My wife had a miscarriage about a year after the birth of our second child.
“In 2005, I was out getting high and fell 20 feet and broke my back and my wrist, but I stayed out. I told my mom I was going to die from this disease, that it was my destiny. The way Herren Wellness treated me with love and support when I really didn’t think I deserved it was something I needed, and I also needed a kick in the butt. I felt my kids were better off without me. I went to my first treatment at 23, and I was able to understand for the first time that I had an addiction to opiates, and that I couldn’t control it. When I got out of treatment, I was able to stop, and I was lucky enough to meet my wife, who was my best friend.
Yet for many of us, substance dependency robs us of our health, our relationships and yes, even the simple happiness of everyday life. How would I ever socialize without my beloved wine? How could I relax after work, without sipping my cocktail? In my pre-sober mind, alcohol and happiness were so tightly linked that their connection held me hostage. I believed that I absolutely needed to drink to be happy. It was precisely that strong association between booze and happiness that prevented me from exploring a life without alcohol.
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