How I Found TRUE Happiness Within
Friday, July 24, 2015 - Author: Chris B.
My name is Chris, and I'm an addict in recovery who celebrated three years of sobriety on June 2015. For most of my life, I felt different than the rest of the world, which lead me to resenting a lot of people, places and things. These feelings of separation from my family, friends and the rest of society are major factors in what fuelled my addiction. With three years of sobriety under my belt, I often look back at who I used to be and who I am now with amazement. I'm able to see the world in a whole new light, and I remember to stay grateful as much as possible, which helps me stay in an incredible mood most of the time.
When I was about four years old, my parents got divorced, and I moved in with my dad. For many years I believed that my mom didn't want me, but I later found out this wasn't the truth. Growing up I would visit my mother in California while I lived with my dad in Las Vegas. My mom was an alcoholic, and my dad was a heavy drinker who raised me in bars. My dad raised me the best he could, and he always taught me right from wrong. He was a salesman and big on motivational speakers, so he was always telling me to look on the bright side of things.
I stopped visiting my mom because I was tired of being around her when she was drunk. My resentment towards her drinking kept me from drinking or using drugs for quite a while, but I eventually decided to get drunk for the first time at the end of my senior year. It didn't take long for my addiction to kick in, and I went many years drinking myself into oblivion, and I also started using drugs that I never thought I'd use.
I lost multiple jobs due to my drinking and using. My best friend died at the age of 24 from alcoholism. My son's mother and I separated, and it didn't take long for her to not let me see him anymore because of my drinking and using. After multiple failed attempts to get sober, I was admitted into the hospital because I was a mess mentally and physically. My mom had been sober for about five years at this point, and she came and got me from the hospital to try to get me sober. The doctors said I had less than a year to live unless I changed the way I was living.
I didn't want to get sober because I thought drugs and alcohol were the only way I could deal with life. I didn't like people, and I thought the whole world was against me. I was constantly in a bad mood because I strongly felt that the whole world would be a better place if everyone just did what I wanted them to. I believed that if the people of the world did what I wanted then I wouldn't have the need to drink or use drugs.
Through sobriety, I learned that I was wrong about life. I learned that the only thing making the world a bad place to live in was me. My outlook on the everyday situations that life throws at us is what kept me miserable for so long. I was tired of living the way I was living, so I started to learn from other people how to live a happier, more serene life.
I realized early in my sobriety that most of the feelings I felt were of my own making. Nobody could make me feel angry, sad or afraid. These were all emotions within my own head, which meant that I had some control over them. I began learning to accept people for who they are. This helped a lot because I realized that I wanted the same type of treatment in return. When someone upset me, I tried to remember that they are who they are, and there isn't much I can do to change them. This helped me have much better relationships with my friends, family and significant others.
I Remember to Stay Grateful
I know that most of you reading this aren't recovering addicts, and you may have never been on your deathbed and given a second chance, but here's what I do to remain grateful. It's important for me to never forget the personal hell I was in during my addiction and how close I came to dying. I go to sleep excited every single night because I'm excited to see what the next day has in store for me. No matter how bad my day was, I try to remember that the next day is full of surprises, and I'm extremely eager to see what they are.
I've learned to take pleasure in things that I took for granted for so many years. I have a six-year-old son who can be a handful at times, but I remember to be grateful that I'm able to see him grow up into such an amazing person. He blesses me everyday with his laughter, sense of humor and amazing dance moves. I remember those things on the days when he's tough to deal with, which helps me be a better father to him.
The best part of my life today is that I'm able to help others. For many years, I was of no use to anyone, and I could barely help myself. Now, I'm the person that many people come to for advice about how to deal with situations, which is a gift that I've been given that can't be bought. The ability to help others with my experience, strength and hope is more than I could have ever asked for when I made the extremely difficult decision to get sober.
I also hope that if you're reading this you'll see that there is hope for a better day no matter what you're going through.