Dan L. – It Was Worth it for Me

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Dan L Alumni

I just could not get out of my own way.  I’d like to say I tried everything; I had not tried anything. I had no experience giving a full effort.  I gravitated toward things I was good at and avoided anything challenging. Potential is a word that will cause many drug addicts to cringe. Being told about wasted potential always left a bad taste in my mouth.  There was potential, but I could not see it.

If I didn’t commit, I would be free from disappointment, failure, and embarrassment. I could tell myself “It’s ok, you weren’t even trying” when things didn’t go my way.  I cared about very little in life. The more painful life got, the less I chose to care. I knew my life was going to be a sad story. Gradually I withdrew from all of the things that make life worthwhile.  I had become very sick. I knew I had a serious drug addiction.

Darker and darker the world seemed to get over the last few years, and I along with it. Politics, pandemics, my disease, and its sneaky progression.  Things that should have meant everything to me seemed to matter little at all. I have a size 12 foot but wore a size 10 shoe, nothing ever made me happy. Nothing was ever good enough.

The stars had to really line up for me to have another chance at life. I asked for help, and I got it. When I arrived at Mountainside there wasn’t much left of me. Pieces came back one at a time.  I remember the first time someone made me laugh.  I remember my first bad day.  I remember coming to the realization that I had pushed things as far as they could go. I was lying in my grave with dirt in my mouth.  That hole was a good place to start working on a new foundation. I would start from the ground floor. How many times had I dreamed of being able to go back and do things differently? Is this not what I had asked for?  I started from a place where nothing mattered.  I didn’t matter, nothing I did mattered.  To go from that to knowing everything matters, people matter, and I matter was a big leap.

It feels good to be carried sometimes. I was not accustomed to being looked after and cared for. I learned that people could support some of my weight. It turns out everyone needs help, and I was no exception.  Nothing could have prepared me for waking up in the morning and feeling good. I would not have predicted that I would be able to sleep at night. There are other things that sneak up and surprise me as the days go on. It’s nice to be surprised by what a day can bring. I learned that feeling is called hopefulness.

The suggestions that I received before leaving treatment were very helpful to me. It was suggested I attend 90 meetings in 90 days. It was suggested that I get a coffee commitment. It was suggested that I find a men’s meeting. It was clear I needed to get a sponsor. I wanted to get bingo on those things. I didn’t have a driver’s license. I walked to meetings. I walked to my job.  When it all seemed like “a bit much”, I was told not to worry about being perfect. I just needed to not pick up. That was a relief, I thought I could do that much. I had heard people say they never got the instruction manual for life. Finally, I received mine. I would still have to follow it.

Not everyone is going to flush their stash down the drain and never stumble again. It’s got to be worth the old college try.  Dust yourself off one more time and give it the full effort. You must be worth at least that. All anyone ever wanted for me was to claim a place for myself. To take some enjoyment in life. I just had to learn how to get out of the way. That’s what I would love for you too. To have a life that is worth living. A life that is good enough you may not be so quick to give it up. I know for a fact that you can do anything I did.  Don’t think you can do it? Believe me when I tell you that you can. You are tough.  Don’t think anyone believes in you? Someone has their money on you! Don’t think it’s worth all the trouble? It was worth it to me.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, Mountainside can help.
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