“God is love, and God has no limits, therefore love has no limits.” – Anonymous

My disease took my hand and strolled alongside me long before I took my first drink. As far back as I could remember, I had always felt out of place, as though everyone else had been granted free access to The User Manual of Life and my copy was somehow lost in the mail. My peers projected an alluring natural self-confidence, whereas I was often lost in the maze of jealousy and insecurity within the recesses of my mind. Even amidst my own family – where there has never been anything less than unwavering, unconditional, unmistakable love – I felt misunderstood and lonely. So it’s no wonder that by the time that first sip of liquid confidence hit my aching soul, I believed it to be my long-awaited solution. The deafening voice, which for years had drowned out all proclaimed words of kindness, hope, and love, was quickly drowned out by a drink. Little did I know that what appeared to be innocuous fun would over the next thirteen years lead me so far into a dark jungle of chaos and self-destruction that I could hardly begin to fathom a way out.

Fortunately, despite feelings of desolation and isolation, I was in actuality far from being worthless and abandoned. My mother asked once more if I needed help, and with the sole ember of hope left in me, I finally conceded and accepted. Filled with gratitude for this final lifeline, I found myself open to considering that perhaps I had more to offer than what I had for so long believed, that I was indeed worth saving. While in treatment, the thick layers of alcoholism enshrouding my heart began to slough off, and I became able to both give love to and receive love from my peers. It was there that I began to understand the necessity of finding my tribe, and how those interpersonal connections organically fed my soul.

Upon entering the rooms of a 12-step fellowship, I became enlightened as to the ways in which my Higher Power communicates with me, with one of the most undeniable channels being through other people. There have been innumerable times where I have found myself struggling with a situation, faced with the option to either pick up a drink and temporarily erase the issue from my mind, or to reach out to a sober support for help in working towards a lasting resolution. Regardless of the amount of time I have in recovery, the same two options will always be available to me. However, every time I choose to seek help, the empty promises of a drink become more repulsive, and an actual solution becomes increasingly attractive.

Working in the Alumni Department at Transformations Treatment Center has afforded me many opportunities to witness firsthand the power of a community. I have felt hope and courage vibrate through the air on Alumni Nights. I have seen the light return to a broken alcoholic’s eyes with each act of kindness from a fellow recovering addict, with whom they connected here at Transformations and developed a friendship extending beyond these four walls.  And I have seen the empty shell of a human being, broken down and beaten by years of abuse from this disease, over time fill to the brim with every bit of love selflessly offered by others. I truly believe it to be no mistake, no coincidence that we have been placed here together, in the same space at the same point in time, and have been given the precise words and tools needed to help one another be the best versions of ourselves.

On July 16th, 2018, I celebrated four continuous, blessed, freeing years of sobriety, and with that came significant reflection. Over the course of this past year, I have ventured further outside of my comfort zone than ever before. Today, I do my best to focus my energies and attention on those who inspire growth in different facets of my life. More often than not, I am able to receive hope, strength, and love from others when I am hurting, and am able to turn around and pass along this same light to others when they are in need. I have extended my hand despite fearing rejection, and have met countless brilliant souls in return. I have accepted in my heart that I am a good person who will more often than not fall short of whom I ultimately wish to be, but with each new day I will embrace the opportunity to try again. Most importantly, I recognize that the person I am now is still very much worthy of acceptance and love.

God has always been present in my life, but it was until I put down the drink that I was able to receive what was being shared with me. I commune with my God in the quiet moments of peace and solitude, but also recognize my God in the words and affirmations of others. So I would encourage you to find your tribe – your misfits and weirdos and black sheep – share in life’s endless blessings with them, and through them learn to love yourself as they love you. Stand a little taller, tilt your chin to the heavens, love yourself as you love others, and push yourself to do everything in your power to feed your soul.

 

 

 

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