I have more than ever to be thankful for this year. I’m so thankful for my sobriety and for all of the support I’ve received. I’m thankful for my online sober community. I’m thankful that I have food, shelter and clothing. I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful to my team at Park Center, my local treatment center. I’m thankful that I’m healthy and happy. I’m thankful to have another chance to build a life that I want to live. I’m thankful to have a business to run again. I’m thankful that I’m back in school pursuing a degree in Addictions Counseling. I’m thankful for everyone at Indiana Wesleyan University who has helped me get back into school. I’m thankful just to be alive. I’m thankful I’m not the person I was for so long. I’m thankful for my journey, both the good and the bad. I’m thankful for everything I have. I’m thankful that I’m not in jail or in the court system at all. I’m thankful to the old man at a church outreach program that told me I wouldn’t make it more than 3 or 4 weeks sober if I didn’t go to a long-term rehab (I didn’t and I’m now over 10 months sober). I’m just fucking thankful for everything these days.
When we are in active addiction we are oblivious to so much of our lives. I stayed drunk and fuzzy because the reality of how lost I’d gotten was too scary to face. I cruised through holidays and meaningful events in a haze and didn’t appreciate them. But that’s not the case this year. This year I appreciate Thanksgiving and everything it stands for (expect for holiday shopping). This year, the holiday is a reminder of everything I have. It’s a day to say thank you to those who have supported me and to really mean it. I try to be positive and uplifting for others every day now, but during this holiday season I’m going to shift it into overdrive. The world is a messy place with violence, corruption and politics headlining our news everyday. I strive to counter that with daily messages of hope and encouragement to live your best life possible. We’re only here for a moment in the grand scheme of things, so why not make it the best moment it can be? Let’s see what happens when we spread love and kindness for a change.
My sobriety isn’t just about not drinking or drugging myself. It’s about living a more meaningful life. If I can help one person to do the same, then it’s all totally worth it. Regardless of where you are in your life or in your recovery, if on you’re on that path, you can always be better. You can always be kinder, be more positive and be happier. It all comes from within, but it can start with surrounding yourself with those things that you want to be. If you want to be sober, surround yourself with sober people and a sober environment. If you want to be happy, surround yourself with happy people and a happy environment. Changing your people, places, and things is a cliche in recovery, but it can be the key in finding what you want.
The biggest difference in my life this year versus last year, aside from not drinking and popping pills, is that I’ve cut all the negativity out of my life and replaced it with people who are supportive of me. I no longer sit at the bar every night listening to people bitch, moan and gossip. Now I go to counseling and case management appointments where I’m encouraged and given positive outlooks. I’ve found that I’m generally a happy person on my own when not surrounded by negativity. Now, I’m perfectly content being by myself and doing my own thing. But that’s just the way I am, it may not be the same for you. The point is go figure out what makes you happy and work your ass off to create that life for yourself. It is possible. It is amazing.