I have found that vibrant and joyful life that I hoped existed for me somewhere beyond the pain.

I was in a deep dark place. That really well describes the years leading up to my sobriety.  Looking back it’s sometimes hard to believe that person who was in a world of pain was me.

Before I got sober I remember the shame I felt knowing that I had a problem. That shame permeated my life especially in the last months of my active addiction. I felt like I WAS WRONG and now I know that I was a sick person who needed to get well. For some that will not make sense, but for others who have been there or are there now it will resonate.

Now don’t get me wrong, there were great times and good things in my life during the period I was an active alcoholic. I felt happiness at times and even had fun, but I was not happy. Most of the time I was in a dark place. I often felt lost, disconnected, fearful, and like I had strayed so far from the person I was meant to be.

After some time passed, I wanted to stop drinking. I wanted help, but I felt ashamed. I wanted a vibrant and joyful life, but I wasn’t completely sure it was possible for me. I wasn’t sure I could not drink. Alcohol had been a companion and a crutch for seven years. Alcohol had made me feel like a beauty queen, a late night articulate philosopher, one of the popular girls, easy in my own skin.

Alcohol had also after time been an enemy, a bad friend who lowered my self esteem, took my friends, and worried my family. One day after a night of drinking I was feeling particularly low. I had plans to go to a festival that day and drinking would definitely be part of the plan. I remember sitting in my little shoe box of a studio apartment with my now husband, and I had a moment of clarity. My inner voice whispered, “Skip the festival today and don’t drink. This is the day you stop drinking.” Little did I know in that moment my whole life was about to change. Two days later, I called someone and got the help I needed and I didn’t drink. That day, thankfully remains my sober date.

That was over ten years ago. I was 25. The days that followed were not as hard as one might think. Yes, I felt fragile and unstable for a bit, but it was also freeing, colorful, and clear. The world seemed so much brighter and more clear to me. I felt a huge weight that had sat on my shoulders for years be lifted. I felt some joy and excitement. I felt like I was seeing the world through new eyes. It was much harder being in all the pain and despair of addiction.

Over the years I’ve done a lot of healing work and a spiritual foundation has been the number one priority in my life. Growing my spiritual life on a daily basis has been key for me in my recovery. Trying to be of help to others has been important in my recovery. I have found that vibrant and joyful life that I hoped existed for me somewhere beyond the pain. I found like-minded friends in recovery who have been through a similar past and we get well together.

My life is beautiful and I’m in love with a healthy and sober lifestyle. Truly, the past ten years have been the best of my life despite life’s struggles and challenges. I beg of anyone who is still out there struggling, anyone who is still lost in the dark, to look for that small light and follow it. Don’t give up hope, you are here for a reason.  Change is possible.  Miracles are possible.  A new life is possible.  A new pair of eyes to see the world is possible.  Don’t give up.  There is help out there and help is not a dirty word.  Don’t give up, follow the light.