What I Gained and Lost During My Recovery

Man looks at the city in a sunrise

A full recovery from drug addiction is a journey, and I have gained and lost, quite a bit through it all. I have written before that my ability to leave addiction behind had more to do with my commitment to becoming a better person than it was about removing drugs and alcohol from my life. That could not be more true, and my life, the way I live it, the way I carry myself, the way I’m treated, and the way I treat others stands in stark contrast to the way I lived my life when it was driven by drug dependency.

Speaking on things I have gained and lost, I now have the capacity to be honest, both with myself and others, in all areas of my life. I do this with a commitment to live my life in a way that does not create reasons to be dishonest. In doing this I lost all desire to lie to my parents, my siblings, my friends and co-workers, and any other person I have in my daily life. This lost ability was something I used to be very good at. I have also lost my professional ability to manipulate situations. Man, I was good at that, manipulating people to their core to fit my agenda, especially the people who loved me and desperately wanted to see the good in me win out. I realized that I have no will or capacity to manipulate people anymore. I cannot do it with any kind of effectiveness, I know that. I do not even try; I have no reason to.

Another thing I have gained along the way is peace of mind. I drift to sleep peacefully, I wake up peacefully (well, mostly, depending on the time), and I go about my day with a newfound peace inside of me because of the way I now live my life. This has caused me to lose many things. I have lost that constant fear I used to live in. I have lost all the stress I endured through the constant chase of something I could never obtain, an endless high. I have lost the constant feelings of shame and guilt, the constant worry of being called out for what my perception of me was, a total fraud.

I have gained the ability to be sincere and genuine, in both my actions and my words. I have lost my fraudulent persona, where nearly all words and actions were geared towards one thing: feeding my addiction. I have gained the respect of the people in my life, respect for what I have overcome, respect for me as a person, respect for my kindness towards others, even respect for my failures, because my failures are no longer represented by a lack of effort or questionable tactics. I have lost the feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt. I have lost the ability to constantly throw hate towards myself. I have gained the ability to love myself and appreciate the person I am, flaws and all.

I have gained overwhelmingly positive relationships with the people in my life, my family, my friends and co-workers, my bosses, on down the list to mere acquaintances. I enjoy healthy relationships by simply living in a way that no longer hurts the people I love or puts people off from being associated with me. I have lost the strained relationships that once caused so much pain between myself and others. I have lost the ability to isolate myself in my own misery, as my life is now full of people I enjoy being around, and I have no misery to sit in.

None of this is meant to imply that my life is somehow perfect now that I have overcome drug addiction. I still have my struggles as I continue my growth and evolution as a man, son, brother, friend, mentor, and employee. But, given where I came from and the effort that I made to put together and create the life I have now, it almost feels perfect. If you or anyone you know is seeking help, please reach out.



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.