You never know the lives you can touch unless you’re willing to set your ego, shame, and pride to the side to risk what people may think of you.

My name is Alex.  I just recently turned 21.  I am in long-term recovery.  I got sober at the young age of 15.

My biological family is one that has the disease of alcoholism.  Growing up, I always thought I was different and had many addictive behaviors.  Being in recovery, I’ve found out there are more people like me than I thought.

My disease took me to places where I didn’t know how I got there, with people who could care less about me.  I neglected my family, and did things I could not imagine.  My behavior was so manipulative and dishonest.  I couldn’t keep track of what lie I told you to protect myself from you really getting to know me or how bad my using was.

I also didn’t know that I was the problem.  I would always think that geographical changes or new scenery would make it all better.  When I was 15, I traveled down the whole west coast on a teen tour getting high and wasted everywhere I went.  Along the way, I lost my dignity, my joy, and most importantly I lost myself.  I did not care in the darkest of times if I was dead, raped, in jail, or homeless.  I say those powerful scary words because that’s where my disease can take me.

I’ve been in psych wards, hospitals, rehab facilities, and I was just waiting for the day that I wouldn’t feel so miserable and discontent anymore.  Also, I knew and saw the pain in my parents’ eyes.  They couldn’t understand why, no matter what lengths they went for me to try and get me help, nothing was changing.

Getting sober, I started to rediscover myself, and in a sense began to reinvent myself.  One thing that was hard was that I was so young.  I was about to embark on a journey where I wasn’t sure what was in store for me.  That’s where 12-Step programs and a hope and reliance on a higher power had to come into play.  I had to believe that, no matter what, I was going to be okay and I did not have to drink or use over any situation.

These 12-step fellowships exist for people like me and are for people who want it.  It’s all about action, helping others, and working with others.  The fact that you’re no longer alone is comforting.

I didn’t stray too far from my foundation, but what I did change was the people, places, and things I was attached to in the depths of my despair.  Being young, it was so hard at first to see my life in a new light.  I was used to taking advantage of everything.  Also, I had to use my newly found recovery as a new way of life.

I’m so glad I stuck to my tiny gut feeling because my life today is a beautiful journey.  When I found young people like me recovering I was so excited because I had thought I was alone.  That nobody my age could relate.  The friendships I have are beautiful and I am always having a ton of sober fun, going to young people conventions across the country, and meeting new people from all over that have the same kind of life as me.

Also, it is super cool I talk to health classes and auditoriums of high schoolers to offer a helping hand, bring awareness and spread a positive message of recovery.  You never know the lives you can touch unless you’re willing to set your ego, shame, and pride to the side to risk what people may think of you.

I have relationships with my family today.  I have an awesome new one with my brother, who I really hurt, he is just 11 months younger than me.  I get to be apart of people’s lives because I’m no longer who I once was.  I am loving and tolerant.  The majority of the time, I am loveable and can be tolerated just as much.  I even just got a main role in a horror film.  I couldn’t believe it and freaked out for almost two hours before calming down.  That’s too good to be true!

I choose not to remain anonymous with my personal recovery story.  Sharing my experience, strength and hope with others and doing service with others like me, I get to live a life I could have never imagined.  For that, I am blessed.