And one thing I never hear in any meeting is that life got worse after becoming a member of the program.
Anytime anyone shares about their experiences after they relapsed is that things immediately got worse. They usually lost nearly everything they had worked for while they were sober. Many of them got into accidents. Got divorced. Went to jail. Some of them ended up homeless. The stories of those who returned to sobriety are enough to keep anyone from thinking that picking up drugs or alcohol again is a very good idea.
And while I never relapsed once I got sober and admitted that I was an alcoholic, my life has gotten progressively better over the years. I have been blessed with success on many levels and achieved success in several areas of my life without even trying.
My sole purpose when I first came into the program back in 1991 was to get the pain and demoralization out of my life. And it was interesting that within six months I was a pretty happy person – actually about as happy as I am today. During those first years of sobriety, I developed a purpose in life, one of helping others get into recovery. And I think that having a purpose makes a big difference.
Sometimes newcomers get the idea that because they got sober they'll have no more problems. But they soon learn that that's not the case. The reality is that problems continue to arise as long as we live. But when we're living clean and sober we're much more able to take things in stride. The ups and downs of daily life no longer throw us into a tailspin.
We learn to accept and expect a certain amount of adversity and pain, but we're able to handle things without propping ourselves up with chemicals. We join a fellowship of like-minded spirits, and often use each other for support when things get tough. Over and over through the years, I've seen addicts and alcoholics help one another when they were facing obstacles. Being in a fellowship, one has a level of support that they've never experienced – even from their own families.
I'm still waiting to see a speaker show up someday who says that as soon as they started drinking or drugging life immediately improved. Still waiting...
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