13


My clean time became a teenager today! Damn, that’s a long time. And, to get this out there first and foremost, I am not highlighting this moment to place myself on a pedestal, to brag, or say “look at me, look what I did”. No, that’s not my intentions and never is for anything that I do.


If you knew me, then you’d already know that wasn’t my motivations for posting this. And, if you don’t know me, then I want you to understand or recognize that my rationales are always aligned with helping others, inspiring others, and in no way, shape, or form to make it come off like I’m better than.

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You see, I had that mentality very early on in recovery and that’s what took me out of the rooms for a brief moment. Those thoughts that I wasn’t like everyone else and my addiction was different than somebody else’s was a very superficial and judgmental way to view my disease. To be completely honest for some time, I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that someone doing different drugs than I did or doing different things on drugs or to get drugs was just like me.

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Because, if you’ve ever been in a recovery meeting or spoken to someone who is in recovery, they will tell you that it was never really about the drugs. The drugs are actually just a symptom of a bigger problem or issue and that is the person. Meaning you, me, or the individual it was needs to be addressed and focused upon not the drugs. It wasn’t until I truly understood this, that I was able to start my recovery process.

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And let me tell you, once that clicked in my mind, it was off to the races. The rollercoaster took off and I began this journey that I am still on to this day. This journey that has presented me with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. This journey that has given me successes I could never have dreamt of and failures that I thought would break me, but they didn’t. This journey that has made me feel my feelings, which I hated at first, and at the same time, made me feeling my feelings, which I absolutely love. You may be thinking that that might have been a typo or something, but it wasn’t. The ability to really feel my feelings was something I hated because for far too long I numbed myself to everything and everyone. I wasn’t used to feeling things and when I started to, it felt weird, uncomfortable, and down right exhausting. But, I eventually started to cherish and adore the fact that I could experience my feelings and emotions. Because, not everyone gets that chance for whatever reason that may be.

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But, for myself, I started to embrace that and stepped fully into the notion of feeling everything I experienced, good or not so good, and feeling everything that life had to offer. I mean, why not? Why deprive yourself of what’s out there and how it can make you feel, even if that feeling isn’t considered “good”? I don’t see the benefit of closing yourself off and possibly missing out on something magical, something special, something once-in-a-lifetime all because you were afraid to feel.

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And that’s how I live my life today, through experiences. Good experiences. Great experiences. Not so great experiences. Tough experiences. Frustrating experiences. Any and every experience that crosses my path, I am here for. Because, I learned quickly that you can’t decide which experiences you get and the ones you can avoid. If you want to whole-heartedly go through the human experience, then you can’t cherry pick what you’re exposed to. It doesn’t work like that.

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If you think about it, it’s almost an all or nothing proposition. You can close yourself off to everything and experience pretty much nothing or you can open yourself up fully and experience pretty much everything. I chose the latter some years ago and I choose that today as well.

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Because I know how it feels to be closed off to everything. I know how it feels to be numb to the world around you. I know how it feels to put yourself in a “comfort zone” that doesn’t allow you to follow your heart. And, I never ever want to go back to that place.

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That reference point, along with so many others, keeps me clean today. It keeps it fresh in my mind that my disease wants me to fail. It keeps it fresh in my mind that if I don’t consistently work on myself, if I don’t remain honest with myself, if I don’t keep my recovery up front, then I am entering a slippery slope that might not have an easy escape plan.

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So, I pride myself on being honest with myself no matter what. I call myself out if I’m acting on something other than love, kindness or compassion. I have to or I’m doomed to repeat old habits, bad habits, and habits that no longer serve me. And to this day, I thank the God of my understanding for giving me the courage, the power, and the strength to surrender. To admit that I was powerless over my addiction and that I needed help.

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That’s why I always keep my recovery front and center, because I truly believe that whatever feasts in darkness, will die when a light it shed upon it. So, when I choose to bring attention to my clean time, it’s not only to inspire other people, but it’s also essential for me to remember the journey I’ve been on to get where I am today. I was broken when I got clean. I was a scared little boy when I got clean. I was mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually bankrupt. I had no clue who I was, where I was, or why I still alive.

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But, that is no longer how I think anymore because I know who I am today. I know what my passions are today. And I most certainly know why I am alive today. I am here to help. I am here to inspire. I am here to show others that anything is possible, if they truly believe it can be achieved. I am here to guide people on their journey to recognize that they are worth it and motivate them to become the best version of themselves one day at a time.

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And I know that none of this could ever happen if I wasn’t clean. So, I today, and every day, I thank my Higher Power for the gift of recovery. I have to practice this on a daily basis because I take my recovery in 24 hour increments. That allows me to keep my focus in the moment of each and every day, just like next person does. Eventually the days turned into weeks that turned into months that turned into years.

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13 years to be exact on this very day, no matter what.

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