So Much to Be Thankful For

Sober man
Photo by Solovyova/

It is amazing what can happen in three years. In some respects, 2018 doesn’t feel that long ago. Marvel was ruling the box office with movies like Avengers: Infinity War and Black Panther, Drake and Ed Sheeran topped the Billboard 100 for the year, and Apple was creating their annual cell phone frenzy with the release of the iPhone XS. Three years later, and much remains. Marvel movies, Drake and Ed Sheeran are still as popular as ever, and the iPhone 13 will undoubtedly be one of the hottest gifts on the market this Christmas. Much of the world has changed, however. 2020 challenged us like never before, with the effects still very much being felt in 2021. Our country continues to be at odds with one another on the best ways forward and the drug crisis is as real and heartbreaking as it has ever been. The reason I decided to use three years as a template for this introduction is because three years ago would be the last Thanksgiving I ever spent self-destructing as an addict, and as Thanksgiving approaches, I have more to be thankful for this year than I ever dreamed possible.

I have become rich beyond my wildest dreams. No, I’m not talking about my bank account. I don’t have rows of fancy cars lined up outside of a newly purchased mansion. I don’t have any fancy vacations planned or a massive crypto wallet that sets me up for life. I’m talking about my life, a life that feels richer in every way conceivable than the life I was living before I made the decision to become drug-free, for good. When I was living as an addict, it was a life that I fantasized about—a life where I was at peace with who I was and the way I was living. It was also a life I needlessly believed was unobtainable. How wrong I was.

I am thankful I made the decision to get help. I’m thankful for the wonderful people that guided me to make changes in my life that would set the foundation for who I would become. I am thankful that I stayed committed to a new lifestyle and trusted the process that my hard work would pay off. I am thankful for the challenges early on in my recovery that made me stronger, for the adversity that gave me belief when I pushed through it. I am thankful for the people that challenged me to work harder, pushed me to be better, and refused to let me give up on myself.

I am thankful for my family, my parents, and siblings, who loved me when I struggled to love myself. I am thankful for the incredible relationships I have with them today, for all the healing that took place early on and manifested into the loving, healthy, and unbreakable bonds that they have now become. I am thankful that when I see my family this holiday season there will be no resentments, no tension, no thoughts of self-destructive behavior ruining Thanksgiving or Christmas. There will be only love, a love defined by a family who stuck together through some of the hardest challenges imaginable.

Narconon Suncoast

I am thankful for my job, a job in which I get to use my past as a force for good. A job that revolves around helping people and seeing the magic of a person getting their life back, as I once did. I am thankful for a job that creates more fulfillment and purpose in one day than I ever felt in my previous career. I am thankful for this amazing group of people that I have the privilege of calling co-workers and colleagues as we strive towards a common goal of making the world a better place for the individuals that we service. I am thankful for all our incredible graduates who have achieved their own drug-free lives, and I am thankful for how my experiences have given me the perspective to play some small part in helping them along the way.

I am thankful for my friends. The genuine friendships that I have today that are built around honesty, mutual respect, and sincere care for one another. Friendships that are supportive of one another and realize the value of having quality people to share this life with.

I am thankful for my health. I am thankful that I have decided to make my health a top priority over the last year. I’m thankful that I was able to utilize the hard work I put in other areas in my life and channel that to achieve my goals in less than a year’s time.

In short, I am thankful for the life I have today. I am thankful for all the blessings that have been bestowed on me once I started living in a way that gave me peace and offered prosperity. I am thankful that I am aware of just how great life can be, but also humble enough to appreciate this life and to know that these pleasures in life are things never to be taken for granted again. Thanksgiving may have looked much differently three years ago with seemingly far less to be thankful for, but if I had known the road ahead and what my future held, I would have been thankful then too.



Justin has been working in the field of addiction and recovery for over 1 year. Justin earned his Bachelors's Degree in Finance from Florida State University. Having been an addict himself, he brings real-world experience to the table when helping addicts and their families, while also offering a first-person perspective to the current drug crisis. Justin is passionate about educating the public about what’s currently going on in our society, and thankfully, offers practical solutions.