Hello, my name is Rudy and I am a recovered addict. I was addicted to drugs and alcohol for over 10 years. The addiction got the best of me until I decided to stop. The power of addiction is sneaky and it took me by surprise. Today, I can say that I don’t regret anything I did because it now made me a stronger person. I love who I am today and the person I have become. After going through such hard times I now realize that everyday above ground is a good day and I am grateful to be alive. I can say that I am definitely a happy person and I try to be as kind and as good as I can.
The Early Stages of Recovery
At the beginning of my sobriety it was difficult to stay sober I must say. To be honest I wasn’t enjoying myself for the first few weeks and even months. Even though it was hard to stay in recovery I decided to keep going because I knew it was the right decision. I almost lost everything because of my addiction including my family, friends and other relationships. I was also spending a lot of my money on my drugs and alcohol it that I wasn’t really able to do any fun activities.
In the 12 step program some would refer to the way I was living as a “dry drunk” which means I was sober but not happy. I remember during the first therapy session after entering rehab my therapist asking every person in the group what they wanted from sobriety. Like it was yesterday I could recall telling him that I wanted to be happy without drugs and alcohol. After all, one of the biggest reasons why I was using is because I wasn’t happy. I was clinically depressed according to my psychiatrist.
A Few Months Into Sobriety
After I few months in recovery I decided I wanted to do something about the way I was feeling so I took action. At that point I realized that I was waiting for happiness to come to me instead of going for it. Rather than staying at home resting on my laurels I started to expose myself. I was so used to numbing myself that I forgot what I enjoyed in life. So I started testing out different activities to find out what interested me and made me feel good.
The first thing I did was join my neighborhood gym and get a personal trainer. I hired the trainer to train me 3 times a week which turned out to be a great decision. The exercise made me feel so good. I can now admit that there were many times I was lazy and didn’t want to go but I literally forced myself to show up. I knew that if I got myself in that gym that I would do the workout. At top of that, if I wasn’t feeling too good before the workout I would come out feeling great and happy. Working out and doing cardio became a fun hobby of mine.
The next thing I did was I began playing sports recreationally. In high school I was a pretty good athlete, I was on the hockey, basketball and soccer teams. I wanted to get back in to playing those sports. So I bought a basketball and started playing pickup games for fun at the parc. Eventually I joined a league and played ball twice a week. It was almost a miracle, I never imagined having so much fun without drinking or drugging it was honestly such a great feeling!
The Later Stages of Sobriety
The stuff I was doing during the day was fun but I had a problem. The problem was that at night I didn’t know what to do. I was so used to using at night and sleeping during the day. I needed some entertainment in my life. What got me through many nights of temptation was watching TV and movies especially comedy. The more I laughed, the happier I became. So now I have a hobby of watching a movie a few nights a week and I really enjoy it. At the beginning of your recovery going out to restaurants might be difficult if you had the habit of drinking or getting drunk at dinner. When you become more stable and secure in your recovery you can slowly start exposing yourself to those types of places.
Your Support Network
Before going out to places where your exposed to a lot of alcohol I would suggest building a strong support network. Over time I slowly built a powerful support network of friends, family and sponsors or mentors to protect myself. If you want to succeed at staying sober you must be secure at all times. Some days will be easier than others especially emotionally. If you’re having a tough day you want to have someone to lean on for help. I know for myself I wasn’t able to get sober on my own, so I know I can’t stay sober on my own too.