Life in active alcoholism or addiction sucks.
The book Alcoholics Anonymous tells us that a better life awaits us in sobriety, and it lays out a prophetic list of Promises for a better life.
Before I got sober, I felt like the authors were trying to sell me something, and I was filled with skepticism.
On the other hand, I was desperate. I really wanted to believe them.
I didn’t want to die, and I wanted another chance at life.
But, it was hard to buy into the idea that things actually could get that much better for me. I felt hopeless, and I was—without help.
I wanted some hard evidence that this 12 Step thing was going to work, because I was afraid to get my hopes up again.
Where’s the Proof?
Alcoholics Anonymous makes it pretty clear:
“If you want what we have and are willing to go to any lengths to get it, then you are ready to take certain steps.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, p 58)
The proof is in the lives being led by those who followed the instruction manual with the desperation of the dying.
The only way to know if you want what we have is to find out what it is that we have… Right?
Promised Hope (In Their Own Words)
Early Saturday morning, I decided to reach out to a handful of men and women who had experienced the miraculous recovery and were living far better lives today.
I asked them what was so great about sobriety.
The responses poured in early Saturday morning, y’all.
They weren’t chemically embalmed corpses on Saturday morning. They weren’t crouching over toilet bowls, waking up on bathroom floors, trying to piece together what happened the night before, or crawling around looking for their keys—a definite clue that things have changed for these folks.
But, I digress… Let them tell you about it in their own words.
“The coolest thing about being sober is knowing that I’m a good husband, that I have the ability to be there for someone else and know that I’m reliable. I’m able to give my whole self. It makes me proud to know that I can be counted on.
Before, the only thing you could count on with me is… that you couldn’t count on me.”
“The most amazing things about being sober is having myself and my family back. I have been able to grow into the person I was created to be with the support of my family. I have a life of purpose today!”
“The most amazing thing about being sober is being a contributing (giving) member of my family and society, instead of being face down on the floor.
“This week I received a promotion and a substantial raise, and not because I was trying to get a promotion. I show up every day and try to do the best that I can, and try to be helpful to the people around me at work.
“Also, my husband told me he loved that I’m a kind person. My initial reaction, in my head, was “Wait, what?” Before getting sober I was a total asshole.
“Now I try to give to my family, do things without expecting anything in return—do things to make them happy. The BEST thing was my son telling me, “Thank you for being a role model for me.” Again, so unexpected after the way I had been.”
“Having peace again—to feel constant joy over nothing really is the best part.
“Of course, we all have our days, but it’s mostly joyful days over in this house.
“It feels so great to just be happy and content with whatever comes your way.
“When some hard days come my way, I have new tools in my tool box that I can use to help me get through them, instead of pushing them down or avoiding the situation.
“I’m just so happy, that is the best thing about being sober!!!! Lol Corny, but so entirely true.”
“I now have the ability to identify things that are holding me back in life and make real changes to overcome them.
“I see people all the time who are stuck in a rut. They are unhappy with some aspect of their life, but they don’t know how to make a change.
“Overcoming drug addiction is probably the most difficult thing I’ll ever do, and it taught me practical steps that I can take to change almost any part of my life that I’m unhappy with.”
“I never got my life back, I was given a new one.
“I got peace, I lost regret.
“I no longer fear change, the little things are just little things, and obstacles became learning experiences—the realization that I really can do anything I want.
“And… Financial stability, a house, a car, a trusting family, better job, kids, and a wife- those were just added bonuses.”
“Being sober is so much better. Man, I enjoy “waking up” instead of “coming to.”
“Being in recovery is the best thing that ever happened to me. You know, I enjoy not wearing jail-house clothes and not being in prison.
“I enjoy living—the simple things in life. Just being a part of my family again—I love being a father to my daughter, a son to my mother. Recovery is a lifestyle, and I’m enjoying every second of it.”
“When consumed by drugs and alcohol, I was unable to stand alongside friends and family during times of need.
“After getting clean, I had the ability to stand clean and sober at my mother’s bedside for her last breath—by the grace of God.
“A situation that would have lead to selfishness and self-centeredness and an excuse to escape and get high turned into a moment I am blessed to have experienced.”
“What it means to be sober is that now I have a choice.
“What makes it amazing is looking at the world from a different viewpoint.
“I get to utilize the tools I was given to be helpful and do God’s work.
“Today, I wake up and try to see time as an opportunity—opportunity to learn something new, or maybe have a creative thought and act on it.
“Every day is an adventure, to embrace change. To not be in fear of the unknown because we have faith now. We have the tools that were given to us by angels (in human form) and we can live in positivity because of gratitude.
“The sky is the limit. Being sober is hope in a nutshell—we can dance in the storm.”
A Better Life Awaits You
Hope in a nutshell.
Every day is an opportunity.
We can dance through the storm… You can, too.
The Promises that the 12 Steps offer are real, and recovery is just the beginning of a new and better life.
That new and better life is open to you, too. No matter how bad it is right now, where there is desperation, there is hope.
The professionals at Solutions of North Texas have been in down that dark tunnel, and we know a way out—contact Solutions of North Texas.
David S. is an alumnus of the SONTX Residential Program and served as a house manager. He is celebrating sobriety as a up-and-coming writer in Dallas.