September 24th is a special day for me. This year it is my two years straight without drinking any alcohol. This journey that I have been on has been full of learning, victories, struggles, insight, friendships, and growth in my relationship with God. I am so very thankful that God has brought me to this place of freedom and joy. The last five years were very challenging years for me. My addiction to alcohol progressed very much in those first few years. I reached a point where I was drinking most days. The amount I drank each of those days was almost always extreme. I came to the point where I was 24, mentally and emotionally broken, and ashamed of myself. My college degree was still not completed after six years. My family and friends were there for me repeatedly with their help and strong prayers. Probably due to their prayers, a strong force of light entered the picture in various forms. A priest recommending a certain 12-Step organization and hearing my confession, a doctor helping me and praying with my parents and I, Valley Hope being the magnificent force of help that it is, and the knowledge and aid of a sponsor to help show me the way are some examples. Day by day I have reached a much better place in my life.
From the darkest days in my late college years to now, God has been with me. I do not shy away from His place in my life and this recovery journey. He is my number one. I strongly believe that part of my success in sobriety is because God removed my mental obsession to drink. That piece was a very big one in the list of ingredients that were needed to bring me up and out of the darkness to this joyful light. God has been working in a massive number of ways in my life to get me here. My recovery has many pieces. I don’t fully understand how it all meshes together. I do know that it works. The difference I can feel in me is stunning. When I say I have a new life I don’t mean that lightly. I can’t completely explain what it feels like. One description that comes close is an epic joy paired with a fire inside to go be a light in the ways God wants me to.
The pieces to my addition recovery have quite the variety. My relationship with God which includes being a practicing Catholic Christian is the most important piece. That is the central element which also puts a certain potency to the other elements through God’s power flowing through them. My family and friends have been as key to my success as is possible. Their support means more to me than they may know. I have been through all of the main treatment types that Valley Hope offers. Inpatient and outpatient treatment there were crucial to my success. Learning through others is huge in my recovery. In my many experiences at Valley Hope I met amazing counselors and many fellow patients who all helped me get to where I am at today. I attend a 12-Step organization that has been with me through all of this. I have gone to about seven different groups within this amazing organization. Those people including my sponsor, the 12 Steps, the principles of this organization, and the meetings are a massive part of why I have been successful. Reading recovery literature was a very helpful piece to this journey. Healthy eating, exercising, and sleeping are some very important aspects. Giving back is something I have started to do. That needs to be a huge part of my future. Meditation played a role in my recovery. That is one area I hope to work on in the near future. I intend to keep building this recovery program. There are things I need to spend time and effort on in addition to continuing my core pieces. This recovery program needs to be something that I carry with me the rest of my life. It will change over time as fits my life at that point. I have a lot of freedom to decide how to mold this addiction recovery program in the future. I hope that I ask God for help in that and make wise choices. I have learned that many steps, though they may be small, add up in a powerful way if there are enough of them. That approach to things in my life has worked extremely well for the way I have lived my life.
These days I am in Wichita, Kansas. I recently moved away from my college town of Lawrence, Kansas. It will always be a special place. It is the place I got sober. It is a very neat city. I have so many positive memories there in addition to my struggles there. Wichita is my hometown. I rent this really neat apartment on a lake. It made perfect sense to come back. I am closer to my main support system. I love this place. I can try to make a career in meteorology in this area when I choose to take that next step. I started at Dillons over five years ago and have worked at three different stores. I love my job in the grocery department. I am very active running things to the shelf, unloading deliveries, organizing things, cleaning, helping the front end by bagging groceries here and there, helping customers, and various other things that come up. Grocery store operations can be pretty involved. There can be a lot of planning and science therein. Kroger owns Dillons. I am cross-trained in produce and work some in that department. Dillons has been perfect for me. I now have a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Atmospheric Science from the University of Kansas. I am technically a Meteorologist. I don’t have a job as one yet. I am at or approaching the stability I want to jump into meteorology. Only God knows what my future holds in that area. The National Weather Service and the AccuWeather Wichita Office are places I would love to work at.
It’s amazing how some of my interests from before my drinking struggles have returned. I love to read again is one such example. I enjoy watching my favorite sports team sober. I used to be so good at that before the dark days came. My interest in politics and government has stayed very high through all of this. I wouldn’t be surprised to see myself hold office in local government someday. My current favorite sports teams are Sporting KC, KU Basketball, USA Soccer, the Chiefs, the Royals, all KU teams especially KU Soccer and KU Football, and a few other teams. I really enjoy following those teams. Movies, playing chess, and playing sports are some of my other current interests. My battle last year at this time with intense anxiety including the OCD form of anxiety may have messed with my activity level in some of my interests last year. I certainly was somewhat detached from many of my interests including my favorite sports teams. It was an odd experience. At this point all of that detachment is gone. The anxiety is still there, especially the last few months. It spiked for some reason. It had almost completely gone away. This time it is in a little different form. I intend to keep talking to my counselor about it and working through it in the ways I have learned. Letting go of some thoughts is a big piece to that success. It is certainly harder in practice than it seems it would be.
I have learned from my past and am excited for my future. Here I am, trying to live in the present. One piece at a time, in the moment, for God and others is my mindset. I’m big on sayings and acronyms. I recognize all the darkness that this topic involves. I am sorry for my past. I have worked hard to get here and am proud of myself. I believe God wants me to be happy and enjoy this new life. It is a gift. I believe God wants me to have fun and be joyful in this life.
I am thankful for the opportunity to have this blog. I haven’t decided how often I will make blog posts. I want to be fairly active on here. I plan on going into more detail about some topics in the sobriety area. There are many things I could talk about. This journey has brought me to some very neat experiences. I hope that somebody finds this blog post to be a good read. Maybe someone struggling with alcohol will come across this. To anyone struggling with addiction or some form of illness of the mind I say ask someone for the help you need, especially God. Seek that help and know that it makes you smart and strong. Emotions do not make you weak. Everyone needs the help of another in some form. We are all in this together.
To God be the glory,