Back in the 1970s I never thought I'd live to see age 40. I was drinking every day. I was using drugs every day. I was stealing every day.
I spent so much time in the Orange County Jail, that when I'd leave I'd tell them to hold my job in the kitchen because I'd be back.
I lived a life of doom and gloom. I felt I wasn't long for this planet. And for some reason, I really didn't care.
This comes up for me today because on May 31, tomorrow, I turn 78 years old. And today I really do care about living. And I give all the credit to the fact that I got sober over 26 years ago.
Because I got sober January 14, 1991, I've been able to enjoy years of blessings. I've been able to see my children and grandchildren mature. I was able to start a nonprofit corporation that helps addicts and alcoholics get sober.
I have a circle of friends. I have love in my life, something I never had while using. I have material things that I've been able to keep because I haven't had to feed a monstrous drug and alcohol habit.
And probably one of the most rewarding things I've been able to do is help others change their lives. There are few occupations where a person gets to help others so directly.
Nothing is as rewarding to me as when someone says "Thank you for what you've done for me. You changed my life."
And to think, I would've missed all of this had I not walked into a detox totally demoralized and beaten down, over 26 years ago.
I'm grateful for my life and the people around me. I love you all.