Why I Fight: Recovery Survivors Share What Keeps Them on Track
by guest writer, Constance Ray
Addiction is an ugly place. It eats your brain, changes your personality, and clouds your focus from what’s truly important in life. But once you get sober and find clarity? Well, clarity provides the ability to zoom out from yourself and see the bigger picture.
It’s this bigger picture that enables recovery graduates to get a better idea of what drives their addiction, what they need to heal themselves, and what really matters in life. Once sober, the struggle to maintain sobriety requires constant vigilance. Finding support groups, sponsors, and positive outlets for your frustrations is key, but so is having a more personal reason for your sobriety.
Sometimes It’s A Program
Ryan had to lose almost everything to get the wakeup call he needed to change his life. Addicted to alcohol and drugs, his lifestyle out of control, Ryan was faced with losing his daughter and his girlfriend. A reality check one afternoon gave him the push he needed to find help. Today, after graduating from his rehabilitation facility, he is building his relationship with his daughter and has a new perspective on life.
Ryan said, “Other than my daughter — I feel like a completely different person. I can’t believe I lived the way I did for so long. I’m making up for lost time. … Changing my mindset really keeps me going. The skills I learned at [rehab] and the meetings that I continue to attend keep me positive and keep me focused. It’s really the little things that you can do each day that make you better.”
Sometimes It’s Family
Brandon was a former athlete and college graduate. It was sheer boredom that allowed him to slip into addiction. A functioning addict, Brandon was able to work and go about the daily actions of life, but it became apparent to his family that something else was going on. His personality changed, he lost weight — even his grandfather could tell there was trouble behind the scenes. When his parents finally called an intervention, Brandon realized he needed help. The love and strength of his family helped pull him through. Today he’s a proud, sober graduate of the Treehouse in Texas. He finds new joy in everyday life, and he is glad to be himself again.
“My main reason [for staying sober] is my mom, dad, and sister. I’m so tired of disappointing them. My sister is scared to be around me. I fell asleep behind the wheel with her in the car once, and she had to grab the steering wheel. She’s scared. I’m tired of seeing my parents’ faces distraught. My mom — she’s just this bundle of joy, and to see her unhappy just tourments me,” Brandon said.
Sometimes It’s For You
Dean found alcohol and marijuana at a young age, but his parents’ divorce pushed him to move onto harder drugs; he became addicted to heroin and opiates. After his father threw him out and he found himself living in his car with no money, Dean was desperate. On a lark, he reached out to a facility and found a friendly voice on the other end. The intake counselor, who is now friends with Dean, was able to convince him to try the facility. Today, Dean is working hard on staying sober.
He told me, “I want to stay on track. You have to do it for yourself — no one else can do it for you. … I don’t want to be hopeless. I don’t ever want to be in that position again. I will do whatever it takes to be above the grave I dug.”
Everyone’s motivation to stay sober is a little bit different — but any reason to keep fighting for your sobriety is the right one.