The Road To Sobriety

Bernie Mannion
Nov 10, 2015 · 4 min read

2nd June 2012, I woke up with what I didn’t know would be my last hangover for…..hopefully forever. I had done it again, slipped! one drink lead to many. i blacked out and no idea how i got home like i had done many times before. But this time it was different, this time it truly scared me! This time i felt human and realized i wasn’t invincible. I wasn’t 19 anymore and I knew deep down I wasn’t happy! I had enough, my soul was tired. my body was tired and my head hurt! I had enough of failure, I had enough of feeling sorry for myself! I had enough of loved ones being sick and tired and giving up on me cause they couldn’t take anymore shattered hope….maybe this time, just maybe this time! A voice inside my head told me I was 27 and life was passing me by. It was like I had gone from 19 to 27 in the blink of an eye. Today was day one, strip it all down. keep it simple. Shrug of all those failures, dwelling on them was not going to get you through the future. I felt excited because this time I felt ready, I felt like something had awakened my soul again!

Be grateful for all you still have. Be grateful for the clothes on your back, the roof over your head and the food in your fridge. This is what they told me in the rooms of AA constantly in the midst of being in and out for a few years! They reminded me of all those who lost everything and how this disease stripped them of all they ever loved! Be regretful to be alive, cause I had spent so many years not wanting to be here anymore, death had become a fantasy. It both scared me and ironically made me feel alive! I had been to, too many funerals of people who died from this. People who i related to on a level i never knew before! People who i sat up with until midnight feeling this comfort I hadn’t felt in a long time because someone understood me! I was learning that I wasn’t alone. Those nights opened the doors to recovery. They thought me to sit through pain, to share it and to be OK with that. They thought me how to connect not only with myself but with others. These people still cross my mind and sometimes give me the drive I need on bad days.

Its been a good few days since then and life has changed beyond belief! I sometimes feel a bit behind all my peers but I remind myself I am lucky to be alive and this makes me humble, cause I did not become just a percentage! I did not hurt anyone by leaving for good! I try to do my best each day, I am not perfect and my best may vary but that’s OK. I know my family are no longer awaiting on a call to hear I’m dead like they did! I know they can sleep soundly at night knowing I’m OK. This gives me a comfort words can’t describe because with sobriety I developed a Consciousness for others.

I have made many friends along the way and lost a few too. But I still love them all. Each one of them, whether in recovery a swell or old friends they have helped me probably more than they know and for that i am truly grateful, for that I love them all still.

I know I have a lot to learn but I always will and that’s OK too. But I have learnt how complex addiction can be, I learnt to be with whatever I feel. I've learnt patience and compassion with myself and others. I learnt that life isn’t perfect but its about finding something perfect in each day and it could be the simplest thing as seeing the sun shine, or wearing my favorite hoody or a phone call with a close friend. I learnt to keep it simple.

Today I have a job that's thought me discipline! Its planted a seed for dreams and goals. I cherish my family and my friends. They’re love keeps me going on hard days even if I don’t talk to them in that moment, I know they’re there. I still go out and dance (or try to haha!) cause even though I'm sober I'm not one to sit quietly in the corner!

The rooms of AA gives me a place to go and re energize and become grounded, so I can face the outside world the best I can. I keeps me humble and stops me thinking I am a super hero and invincible no matter how many days I add to my sobriety. It teaches me that no matter how painful life is sometimes or how happy I can feel, that picking up a drink wont make it better or make me any happier. It reminds me that I and the alcoholic that sleeps on park benches are the exact same. The only difference is I got painfully desperate and asked for help and continue to do so.

If anyone’s reading this, know that we all need help! each and everyone of us, no matter who are you! Whether your in addiction or otherwise! Its a human need and it takes strength and courage to ask for it. strength and courage that we all have, that we can all find if we look hard enough. I’m just a recovering alcoholic who asked for help, that in between all the simple things, have set goals that give me motivation to keep climbing. I can keep climbing as long as i remember one thing each day, one thing I need to do each day, don't drink :).