The other night, as I was driving past a Hustler store on Commercial Boulevard, I thought about how my life used to be when I was in active addiction. No, I didn't hang out in X-rated stores and pornography was not my thing, but illicit activity was certainly no stranger.
Seeing the store triggered thoughts of the racy lifestyle of drugs and alcohol and ecstasy and clubs. I was reminded of my close friends who are still living a life which includes these elements. I wondered how they were doing. I thought about the fact that we are in the month of December, a true party month for those who still party.
I remember looking toward holiday vacation with great anticipation. Many days in a row to get f--ed up. Many parties, much alcohol, many bags of cocaine, many hot guys, many dark clubs. It was all so appealing at one time-a time when I was filled with fear and doubt and didn't even know it.
Today, fourteen years into sobriety on December 20, I still look forward to my time off but it looks very different. I get to plan vacations and very full, active days with my family and friends. I spend time my with incredible 7 year old. I work on my book Addictionland. I throw parties for women in recovery and we share laughs, pot luck food and spiritual experiences.
I appreciate each and every conversation with my parents, whether they are short or long, happy or sad, positive or negative. We babysit Ollie, a goldendoodle who likes to sleep on my head and takes me flying behind her when she goes for a jog. I have too many fun options to consider, great friends to make plans with, dear familly to visit, great books to read, interesting shows to watch, incredible art to make, etc.
Time off in recovery is time to bask in all the gifts of a sober life. It did not feel that way in the early years. In the early years, I still resented that I was the only one of my friends that was forced to get clean and sober and wondered what everyone else was doing during the holidays while I attended meetings on recovery. I felt pity for myself and I kept moving forward anyhow. I did that because even though my head drifted to the dark past, my heart reminded me there was nothing left there for me and it whispered to me of all the great things to come.
My heart was right and so is yours,