My name is Ryan Mahoney, and I am an alcoholic, and a drug addict. I have been in recovery, clean and sober, since February of 2010. I found this project very important, and wanted to get involved as soon as I saw it pop up as a friend had participated in it. The reason I think that it is so important, is because when I was at my absolute worst I never knew that there were people out there that were living their lives in recovery! Who knew that there were people that were able to get sober? I just thought that people like me just tried getting clean and sober, and were never successful.
I just always assumed people like me ended up dying in tragic, yet expected ways and that’s how I lived my life for a very, very long time. So I am VERY excited to be able to do something like this, and try and show people that, “Yes, there is hope. People absolutely DO recover. They are of many different walks of life, and have been able to find a way to live life outside of the confines of addiction.”
As far as a story, my story is just like that of so many others; messy, awful, frightening, painful. It was not uncommon for me to wind up in hospitals, being told by medical staff that I should be dead. I’ve overdosed and had poisoned myself with alcohol MANY times throughout my life. I’ve been to places I never wanted to have gone to, and I did things that I never wanted to have done. I let people down. I burned bridges and polarized relationships. This was not because I wanted to. It was because I just couldn’t ever seem to choose anything other than drinking or drugs, even though I wanted to.
I wanted to be friends with my siblings. I wanted be a friends with all of my cousins that I grew up with. I wanted to have relationships with my aunts and uncles, but I just couldn’t seem to do any of these things. I never wanted to steal, or lie, or cheat, or run with the people I ended up running with some times. Desperation creeps up quick. I always messed it up, and felt like I had to run. The shame and guilt of the things that had been going on in my head ran circles around me, and I always came back to the same answer to quiet the noise. To do it again. Oblivion.
Until someone did for me, what I feel like I am privileged to be able to do right here right now. Someone told me that they were an alcoholic and a drug addict and they didn’t have to do any of it any more. There is a freedom that is out there for you.
I’ll never forget the day I was sitting outside on the steps of an old house, lost in my own thoughts that I just could not quiet. I decided to get in touch with this person who seemed to have a better plan than mine. I told him, “I think I want to do this sobriety thing.”
And I will say to anyone out there who wishes to give this sobriety thing a go, too, the same thing he said to me. “WELCOME HOME.”
Since I have been in recovery, I have been able to show up for so many of the things that I always wished I could do. I got to go to my brother’s wedding and be in the wedding party. I got to go to the hospital when he and his wife were having their son, and was there for the birth of my nephew. I got to be the person in the waiting room the excited dad runs around the corner to and yells, “it’s a boy!”
I have started to develop relationships with my cousins, who I always wished I was able to be great friends with. I have been able to develop myself professionally, and become self-sufficient.
I am still, to date, fairly new to sobriety. I have so much more of life left to show up for. So many things are out there for me. And they could be out there for anyone who is looking for a way out.
I never thought I would make it past 27. I got sober when I was 25, and I just celebrated my 30th birthday.
Words can't do the justice of what sobriety has brought to me. What I can say is that it is something that you CAN have, too. If you happen to be in need, there doesn’t seem like there’s anywhere left to turn, there is. And if you are like me, and are sitting and wondering if you want to give this sobriety thing a shot, then welcome home, friend!