When you are in the recovery process, when you’re trying to recover, when you’re trying to regain something that’s been lost, stolen or destroyed, you must remember why you started. Each and every single person has a different reason for why they have started this thing called recovery. Some of you might be doing it because of an addiction problem, some of you might be doing it because you experienced trauma in life, some of you might be doing it because you struggled with untreated mental illness, some of you might be doing it because of your loved ones, your spouse, your child, your grandkid, I don’t know. But the reason that you start recovery is very unique and very personal to you. My reason might not be your reason and your reason might not be the next person’s reason. But the reason why you start this and anything that’s transformative in life must be very clear and concrete inside your mind and inside your heart because life will put you in different directions. And if you lose sight of why you started there is a chance that you will repeat it again.
Who did you start Recovery for?
I’ve been on the record saying why I started recovery was primarily for my family, specifically I would say my mom. The impact that my addiction was having on her at my young age, early 20s, was significant. It was taking a toll on her and she was already battling her own health stuff. My dad was frustrated, my brother was terrified, it’s like I did it for other people. It took me a while to come around and realize that even though I started it for them I’m doing it for me. I also did it because I was at a point in life at 25 years old that certain friends that I cared for dearly were starting to advance and graduate from school. I remember my best friend at the time, Jacob, we were like two peas in a pod, and I remember when I was 23 years old and I was really struggling at 23 with alcoholism. It seriously had a choke hold on me. I remember driving down and going to San Diego to his college graduation and I dropped out of school a few years before that and I couldn’t. It was just so painful too. I was happy for him and I was happy for his father and I was happy for his family but it was just so painful to see what the hell happened then. I got buddies buying condos and I’m broke, I just couldn’t understand it. So there’s all these reasons why I had.
You must have a reason that’s compelling enough that when the emotions of life kick in that you still stay on the recovery path. It can’t be something surface level, because if it’s surface level then anything that’s going to come across your way will throw you off that path, anything. So remember why you started and if you don’t have a reason why you started I strongly urge you and suggest you and recommend that you find some reasons that are important.
Recovery to get out of Drug Court
Jim, our counselor, went through something called drug court which is a diversion program which allows people, and this was like 20 years ago, so it’s not like I’m saying Jim just did this right now. But it’s a program that allows people who have substance abuse issues and they also have it for mental illness now, by the way, people that are mentally ill, that get caught up with the law instead of sending them to prison, if they qualify and get accepted into a program called diversion mental health program, they can avoid jail by doing treatment. So Jim was able to do that and it’s a very hard program. I’m not going to get into all the details right now. Very hard, but he did it for legal reasons just to not be locked up like an animal behind bars.
Later on he started to get curious, he started to see, “hey, my life’s getting a little bit better as a result of what I’m doing, my life is getting a little better as a result of who I’m hanging out with and associating with, my life is getting better because of the the opportunities that are granted to me as a result of this program and programs like it out there.” And before he knew it he’s on this journey. Jim, at some point in his adulthood, and he had a professional career too, this guy, he worked at big manufacturing companies, you know big, big ones, but at some point in his life he was strung out. You know, no teeth in his mouth, homeless underneath a bridge, you know the sign guy watching people drive by and watching convertibles drive by and this and that and say, “man, what a nice car that guy has over there.”
And if you lose sight of why you started there is a chance that you will repeat it again.
And all these years later as a result of his commitment and being a professional counselor – I call him a very professional counselor and a clinician – a few years ago he got himself a little nice convertible BMW. He puts the top down, he drives down the streets, and he goes to the gas station, he parks, people come up to him and say, “man, that’s a sweet car, can I take a picture of it?” Remember why you started, remember why you started. I got goosebumps sharing that story, Jim, how cool is that man? That’s the power of these things.
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