The New Year is always such a great time to reflect. In the last almost three years of my sobriety, I find myself reflecting a lot. I reflect on what things used to be like, how I used to feel, how I used to think, as well as the circumstances of my life during those times. I also like to look back on my time in sobriety and compare, what it was like vs. what its like now. For the sake of this piece, and with the theme of the new year in mind, I’m going to do my best to put these reflections in black and white.
As I write this, I’m trying my best to put myself back in the hypothetical “shoes” I was wearing at the end of 2014. I was miserable, dope sick, broke, malnourished, and very lonely. That summer I had been through a failed treatment attempt (again) and at that point I had really lost any hope that sobriety, recovery, or happiness were even options for me. Throughout that year I had started, and been fired from, three different jobs. At any given time it was a coin toss as to whether or not I was even employed. I had been through a couple different failed relationships, I even remember one girl crying when she saw the track marks on my arms. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that. Relations with my family were a little rocky, to say the least. Christmas Day I woke up alone in an apartment, a good majority of my valuables in the possession of either a pawn shop or a drug dealer. I was very sick, had no money or way to get any being that it was Christmas, so I walked a few miles to a local hospital and complained of abdominal pain, hoping to get some narcotics. I didn’t get any.
When December 31st, 2014 rolled around, this was the year I had to look back on. In terms of the future, heroin addicts in active addiction don’t have a lot to look forward to. As I mentioned before, I really didn’t have much, if any, hope for the future. I was out of options, out of ideas, there were no more “plan B’s” or “door number 2’s”. On New Year’s day of 2015, my phone didn’t exactly light up with well wishes, but I do remember I would always have at least one friend send some version of, “Happy New year. Hope you’re ok, just making sure you’re still alive”.
Today is January 1st, 2018 and my reflection looks quite a bit different than it did in 2014. I am sober today (coming up on 3 years continuous), I’m happier than I have ever been, I’m physically and emotionally healthy, and my life is more fulfilling than I ever imagined it could be. I’m about to finish my second full year in my profession (at the same job!) and I was even given a few raises in 2017. The relationship I have with my family has never been better. I joined them this time on Christmas day and was a welcome part of the experience. I was even able to afford to buy everyone gifts! On December 28th my nephew, Max, was born and I was at the hospital to see him. My sister, who didn’t use to trust me in her home by myself (for good reason), trusted me to hold her baby! Talk about a miracle. I’ve been blessed to be put in a position to be helpful to others, and I make a concerted effort on a daily basis to serve that purpose. Today I don’t feel so lonely, either. I have a host of some of the coolest people I’m fortunate enough to call friends. Friends that support me, encourage me, challenge me, and inspire me.
In 2017 I became an uncle, I accomplished my professional goals, I’ve handled challenges with as much strength and integrity as I could, I saw a few friends get married, I even went sky-diving! God has done so much for me over the last year, and I am SO grateful for that. I have faith that if I continue to seek and serve God, clean up after myself, and help others to do the same, that the future holds many more blessings and many more miracles.
I woke up to a much different text this week that I think does a better job conveying just how much my New Year’s reflections have changed: “Hey buddy! I wanted to thank you for who you are. I have a year sober today and you’ve been a big part of that from the beginning. I am grateful to have you in my life and am pleased to have you as part of my support system.”
God bless you and may you have many “positive reflections” in your New Years to come.
Corbin B – Austin, TX