The formula for freedom from addiction is the same whether you have one day clean/sober or twenty years. The single most important ingredient for anyone to recover is the desire to receive help for the addiction. My life changed dramatically after I wrote an honest letter about my addiction and my despair and prayed that someone or something would show me how to live.
Within months, I experienced a drug and alcohol overdose and was guided to my first twelve step meeting. Because my desire to get help was true (and not based on someone else pushing me to seek help), the 12 step program was able to work for me. I was open to suggestions, willing to go to any lengths to put down the drug for 24 hours a at time, and honest about my powerlessness over drugs.
I found a sponsor, attended recovery meetings for a donation of $1 per meeting, read the literature, and shared my thoughts/feelings with people who understood me. In the morning, I set an intention to stay sober and followed it up with positive actions like reaching out to others by phone when I felt scared, making sober friends and avoiding people, places or things that triggered my addiction.
Twelve years later, I look back and ask myself what has changed. I still get up in the morning with the intention to stay sober for the day. I still speak to recovery minded friends and acquaintances when I am disturbed. I still attend 12-step meetings, speak honestly about what is on my mind and limit my time around people, places or things that make me feel unsafe.
Most importantly, I show my gratitude for my freedom from multiple, painful addictions by paying it forward and doing my best to help another human being, especially addicts.
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