What I've learned during 11 yrs of recovery
Updated: Sep 3
Today marks 11 yrs of trekking the beautiful road of recovery. Many things have changed in 11 yrs. When my journey started on April 9, 2009, I was broken, defeated, lost, and begging money from my family for weekly rent at a run down sober living house in Orange County, California.
Life is good today! Not perfect, but good. I have a beautiful wife and we've been married over 4 yrs and we have two amazing sons ages 2 and 3. They have never seen me drunk or high. My wife and sons are gifts, and I'm honored and grateful to have a healthy and happy family.
I also have my own business where I have the privilege of working with people all over the planet and walking them out of addiction and into recovery. My work doesn't feel like work, it brings me great joy.
I get to work with city, county, state, and national leaders in the fight against addiction. I get to speak regularly in businesses, churches, and community events and share hope and what God has done in my life.
But what do I love most about my work? The most enjoyable part for me is the one on one work I get to do with everyday people that have and do struggle with addiction.
I love connecting with people on a heart level and showing them that they truly can recover, and giving them the tools to do so. And a step past that, I love to get them engaged with their destiny and bigger purpose in life. Most of all, I love putting their hand in God's. He is the answer, He is the solution, and He has the power to break every chain.
I’ve learned some tough lessons and gained some powerful experience along the way. Here are a few things that I hope encourage you.
Life doesn't magically become perfect.
Early on I had some strange illusion that if I could just got rid of the insane amounts of drugs and alcohol I was consuming that life would be perfect overnight. FALSE! Life can change quickly, but much of the change is dependent upon how serious someone is about wanting to change.
Yes, life can and often does instantly improve in some ways when you take drugs and alcohol out of the equation. But what many people don't understand is that drinking and doing drugs was not my problem. The issue was the ways of thinking and the habits that were ingrained in me that drove me to drink and use.
The real work of recovery for me was doing the internal work. It was admitting my faults and being done with the lies and excuses, and it was being patient with myself and beginning to understand that 13 years (my length of active addiction) of extremely unhealthy living was going to take some time to change. For me the rubber met the road in my day to day habits and disciplines. If you are serious about changing, your actions will prove it.
Everyone is Valuable and has Unlimited Potential.
I believe that some of the most creative and brightest minds on the planet are stuck in a bottle of liquor right now, or they can't keep a pipe out of their mouth or needle out of their arm. They need you and I to treat them according to their value and potential, not their past.
If you look at the life of Jesus you see that he didn't see people according to their issues, He saw them according to their potential and treated them accordingly.
I had to start by allowing God to change my view of myself, and I had to start treating myself with the love and respect that God had for me. After my perspective of myself changed I began to see others different. I began to see the gold in other people. I believe that everyone has a treasure chest of goodness within them, our ability to see it depends upon which lens we are looking through. The lens of love, or the lens of judgement?
When I see the potential in someone and treat them according to who they can become, my words and actions become a compass pointing them towards their destiny. I can be a bright light that enhances their vision, or a dark cloud that blurs their vision. Today I choose to shine.
It's ALL about GOD
Let me start by saying, it's not all about religion. And it's not all about church, although church can and does truly enhances our spiritual life. When I say that it's all about God, I mean that it's all about relationship with God. It's about knowing His presence, knowing His voice, and knowing His heart for myself and others.
In early recovery I quickly realized that my quality of life was dependent upon my relationship with God. So I made it my #1 priority. I would spend hours in my room praying and resting with God while listening to worship music. It changed me, and it changed me fast.
One of the struggles I had to get past was that my view of God was askew because of bad experiences with people that claimed they knew Him. So I created a resentment toward God because someone else misrepresented Him.
First off, it showed that my faith was more in people then it was in God. If my view of God changes because of someones bad behavior then my faith was in people to start, not God. Secondly having an issue with God based on someone's bad representation of Him is like saying that I hate a certain kind of food that I've never actually tasted and experienced. How can I know I don't like it if I've never actually tasted it for myself?
When I made knowing Him my focus, the misunderstandings I had of God melted like a candle in a bonfire. I went to source for my answers, and clarity flooded my mind.
My journey continues, and I never want to think I have it all figured out. If I ever think I have it all figured out, I unknowingly block myself from growth. And I want to grow daily, and continue helping others do the same.
I've tried most things on the planet when it comes to unhealthy thrill seeking and excitement. Nothing has been more fulfilling and sustaining then a living and breathing relationship with God, and raising a family from that place of living.
No matter where you are at in your recovery or battle with addiction, powerful change is available for you. Start today, you'll thank yourself tomorrow.
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