I owe myself the life I have today.

I am Amber. I am an Addict. Besides being an addict, I am also a mentor, advocate, college student pursuing a degree in Substance Abuse Counseling and psychiatry, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, a productive member of society and human being on this earth. That’s what recovery means to me. I get to recover from a hopeless state of mind in order to be all the things I am above. With working with a sponsor that has decades of experience, surrounding myself with positive influences, and with coming to terms with my disease, I was able to have the obsession to use completely removed.

In my forty four months of continuous recovery I have learned a lot. The problems lie when I can’t/won’t use the tools provided from people who have done this before. Who have battled the same disease, same situations or events, and who have overcome difficulties with dignity and grace. I will hit my stubborn head against the wall of denial until I go unconscious with hopelessness. But, if all I can do is not pick up today, that’s victory.

My story started around the age of ten. I come from a loving family, many strong feminine influences in my life. But I was different. Or so I thought. I had an absent father but a present Uncle and Grandpa. I had love but did not think I deserved it. I wanted to be a part of but did not think I was accepted. Growing up in small town Texas and being someone who identifies as LGBQT+ was a massive hurdle. I did not know who I was, and dare I say, I do today. That confusion led to many of the obstacles in my life that I have come to understand. I would do anything to ‘feel better’. To feel at ease, relaxed, to feel free. Little did I know, substances could not do that. Masking my feelings with substances brought me close to death several times. These wars I waged within myself are still memorialized today.

I had the blessing and support of my loved ones to enter treatment. I was able to do thirty days at Michael’s House in Palm Springs. I was thirty one years old. I was broken. I felt like I was beyond repair. At Michael’s House I found love from women, I found hope in my hopelessness, and I found the twelve steps of recovery. I came to know a Higher Power of my understanding. I came to believe I was able to be repaired. I came to know my defects of character. I was able to look at myself in the mirror. I completed my stay, went to a sober living facility, and got a job again. I was able to make a routine that I still perform today. I grew. I learned. Life still happened. People died. Friends relapsed. Car accidents. Divorce. Betrayal. Pain. Sickness. But I stayed cleaned. I leaned on my sponsor, my fellowship, my Higher Power. All these trials and tribulations, all these events, I learned and I grew.

I had several traumas in my life that I have found to be petri dish of my addiction. My disease is not only cunning, baffling and powerful, it is loud. It is loud because it still lies in my head. Still screams some days and is sometimes ever present. I did deplorable things in my time out there, but today, every day, every moment that I get a breath, I get to live a completely different life. And I have found peace.

I still believe that professionals had a huge role in my success in recovery today. I not only owe my life today to the amazing therapists and trauma specialists I have encountered through my time in recovery, I owe myself the life I have today. I put in the work. I did the tasks I did not want to do. I have reached a level of spirituality that is incomprehensible to the person I was before recovery.

I love my life today, I love the people in recovery, no matter what our differences are, I see us as warriors and as fighters. If you are clean today, you are someone else's hero. No matter how much time you have, experience with recovery you have, or where you are at in recovery, you are influential.

In love and light, Amber S. - Denton, TX 09/18/2016

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