This weekend I attended the funeral of my friends son. A life cut short at 22 years of age. That’s way to young. This wasn’t natural, nor was it expected — but it’s all to common within the recovery circles that I travel…
I’m A Drug Addict, First.
Without getting into the whole “recovering” vs. “recovered” or “disease” vs. “choice” philosophical battle — let’s just say that where I am at in my recovery today (since that’s all we ever have as addicts is “today”) is a place where I am still recovering from drug addiction. I haven’t beaten it and, more importantly, it hasn’t beaten me.
I do believe in full recovery, but for me — I’m just not there yet. I still have to be careful about where I go, who I hang out with and what I do. Not because I’m scared of relapse but because I know a relapse is imminent if I am not careful. I don’t have the luxury of taking the day off from this battle. Like they say “if you hang out the barber shop, sooner or later you’re going to get a hair cut”. Even with 8 years of sobriety under my belt — I wake up everyday knowing that it’s my choice to either focus on recovery or not. So, I choose to focus on recovery, every day.
I Am A Successful Drug Addict
It’s not just a positive spin on a negative subject… Even though I am an addict first, I’m also a business owner, a husband, a father and a friend. If I ever want to exceed at any of those things — I must be vigilant. Aware that I too could be next in line for the obituary that reads “Business owner overdoses today, survived only by his wife, son, blah , blah, blah…”.
To avoid this horrible (some say inevitable) outcome that comes upon 90% of those who struggle with my disease I have no choice but to stay focused on the fact that I am an addict first — it’s in my nature to be self-centered, self-righteous, selfish, and self destructive. My brain and the chemicals that make up my anatomy work a bit different than a normal person’s, or as we addict call them — “normies”. I don’t process feelings or information the way a normie does. I’m naturally gifted to tear things down that matter to me. But, knowing this actually helps me succeed!
Making business and personal decisions is a bit harder for me . So, I never make decisions alone — I have employed a board of trusted advisors that include friends, mentors even my wife. These relationships drive the decisions that impact my life in a positive way. After all, if I did everything that “I” wanted to do — I’d probably be dead. Let’s face it, my best decisions got me into the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. So, I try to not make to many decisions without some trusted guidance first.
From Desperation To Passion
Some of us (addicts) struggle to give ourselves permission to become passionate again or to simply be happy. We may not think we deserve it, or we may fear that we will stop working on ourselves. Some of us have been unhappy for so long that if feels uncomfortable to let go of our bitterness. Our ability to enjoy our lives is directly related to our willingness to let go of our self-obsession. That’s why Step 1 is the critical step — admitting we have a problem and then being willing to walk through our own challenges.
Walking through our own challenges helps us to find compassion for ourselves and others. What first appeared to me as a way out (the rooms of recovery, NA, AA, etc.) now offers mea way in — into a life that I hadn’t imagined, into joy, into hope, into growth that never stops. We continue to get better. We continue to discover new ways to live, new freedom, and new paths to explore. No matter how far we have come, or how far we know we have to go, when we live clean, the journey continues.
Passion is a lot like desperation: it is a motivating,
energizing force that can propel us forward.
As I navigate the waters entrepreneurship, I have learned that I don’t have the same concerns or worries that most other entrepreneurs and business owners have. I don’t have the luxury of worrying about failure. Instead, I must focus on staying positive and if there’s something that’s holding me back from succeeding — it just gets dropped, like a bad habit.
Just For Today…Everyday
Today, I run a profitable business, have a great marriage and enjoy an awesome family life. I am not ashamed or embarrassed to say that I am a recovering drug addict. That’s just part of who I am. Even though I do hope that I won’t have to fight this disease forever, I’m 100% ok with it today. And that’s all matters.
If you know someone suffering from addiction the most important thing you can do is to not loose hope. It takes what it takes. And, if you are personally struggling addiction (of any kind) yourself, don’t give up 5 minutes before your own miracle.
Thanks for reading.
A Life Without Drugs
With all the news about famous people passing away this summer there was one story that stuck a cord within me that I can’t seem to get out of my head. It wasn’t a story about death — it was a story about one man’s battle with this disease and how he’s overcoming it daily… If you missed it, it’s a must read article from from comedian/actor Russel Brand entitled “LifeWithout Drugs”.