Today’s sponsor is my dear friend who is celebrating 22 years of sobriety this week. He asked me to write about recovery from addiction. I’ve had the privilege of knowing a handful of incredible people who are recovering from addictions to various substances. It is amazing to hear their stories about how their lives used to be and to see them now as functional and successful people. Most of my friends who have done this needed help from a recovery program like Alcoholics Anonymous.
The transformation that people in recovery can experience is incredible. One of my friends used to be a prostitute when she was using, and now she’s a nanny for a family with a special needs child. Another one of my friends used to be a misanthropic drug dealer who sold drugs to college kids to support his habit, and now he’s close to finishing his college degree and has aspirations of going to graduate school. He’s also one of the most thoughtful and gentle people I’ve ever met.
A few years ago, I invited one of my friends who is in recovery to dinner with my parents. He is one of the kindest and warm-hearted people you will ever meet and he does not hide the fact that he’s in recovery. Afterwards, as Mom and I were washing the dishes, she turned to me and asked, “Did he used to be really messed up?” She couldn’t believe that this wonderful intelligent person that I’m proud to call my friend used to be drunk and/or high on a daily basis.
These are only a handful of the stories of recovery. Dozens of AA Speaker Tapes of people’s stories of recovery are available for free on iTunes. These are people who were so full of pain and shame, who had no self-esteem, and were so uncomfortable in their skin that they had a compulsion to medicate their feelings with drugs and alcohol, regardless of the consequences. It’s amazing that the found the help they needed and stuck with the program to get sober.
And it’s hard work. I’ve heard that programs like Alcoholics Anonymous are simple, but not easy. They require a willingness to be uncomfortable and to learn to live in a new way where people don’t have the option of self-medicating to escape their discomfort. It requires being willing to walk through fear and not self-sabotage their potential for success. The work is worth it, because recovery comes with hope, freedom, and the ability to dream again.
Tonight, I asked my friend who, if all goes according to plan, will be celebrating 22 years of sobriety this week what advice he would give to someone who is contemplating recovery or who is new to the program. He said, “You’re worth it. You’re worth giving it a try. You have nothing else to lose. Give yourself permission not to self-sabotage.”
Sponsor A Law Kid is my endeavor to pay for my last semester of law school. Today’s sponsor is Anonymous. For more information about Sponsor A Law Kid or to see what days are still available for sponsorship, visit my Sponsor A Law Kid page.