Last evening, while Christmas shopping, I was reflecting on the difference between my life 22 years ago and my life today.
22 years ago I was in the middle of my heroin addiction and alcoholism. I was homeless. I was living in a stolen car. I was shoplifting every day to obtain money for alcohol and drugs. I had a DUI and other pending criminal charges. I had hepatitis C. I was a three time loser. I was totally demoralized about my life, living under a black cloud of depression.
At some point, though, I had a moment of clarity. I realized it was either prison or death – or sobriety.
Fear of the first two options forced me to get sober. I entered a detox and admitted I was alcoholic - something I'd never done. I was willing to do whatever it took to change.
I never had a problem admitting I was a heroin addict. The evidence was there: I’d spent some 15 years locked up and another year in a mental hospital - all because of my heroin addiction.
But I didn't want to admit I was an alcoholic because I'd have to stop everything. Alcohol was my doorway to other drugs. In addition, I had a raging alcoholic father who died of alcoholism; I never wanted to be anything like him.
But then a merciful God gave me the strength to admit I was alcoholic. And, you know, from that point on I've never looked back.
My life totally changed. Even though I had no credit or cash, I purchased three houses the first year I was sober. I went from having a GED, to getting a degree in counseling psychology - then became a state certified drug and alcohol counselor. I developed one of the larger programs in the Southwest for recovering addicts and alcoholics.
I was able to invest in real estate. Today have a comfortable home. And best of all, a year ago I married a beautiful psychologist who is the center of my life.
I'm grateful for my blessings today - and to the many kind and loving people who've helped me get here.