What I Gained and Lost During My Recovery
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.