When life gets rough, Brown grips the sobriety chip he carries in his pocket. It’s a source of strength – a reminder of the freedom he’s achieved after more than two decades of active addiction. He might also glance at the milestone that’s permanently inked on his wrist: November 5, 2013.
“It was the day that I chose to live life differently as I had known for the past 25 years,” Brown says.
He took his first drink at age 12 – unleashing “the beast,” as Brown calls his addiction. Teen partying progressed to years of binge drinking and drug use. “The beast grew and grew until it was bigger than myself,” Brown writes. “When the party ended, I found myself alone, broken and addicted.”
Today, Brown enjoys a “polar opposite” life in recovery. “I am no longer confined to my own inner sanctum,” he says. “I wake up each day with optimism and hope and look forward to what each adventure will bring into my life.”PreviousNext
Exceptional Education teacher in Nashville, Tenn., working with middle school students who have moderate to severe disabilities.
Monthly blogger for Heroes in Recovery, which encourages people to “break the stigma, be a hero” by sharing their stories of recovery.
What I lost to addiction:
Trust and respect from my family members. I also lost my self-respect, my dignity, and my ability to smile.
What worked for me:
A great dual diagnosis inpatient treatment center, followed by five months of outpatient therapy. Also, a sponsor, 12 steps, a great therapist, and a lot of prayer!
Best advice for newbies:
Sober people are fun and remember it! It’s never too late. You would be surprised how resilient the soul can be!
A Good Read:
“Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget”, by Sarah Hepola
I start each day by reciting the Third Step Prayer – from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous:
God, I offer myself to Thee, to build with me, and to do with me as Thou wilt. Release me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory of them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy love and thy way of life. May I do Thy will always!”
On staying connected:
Life is too short to be miserable and alone. Go for a walk or exercise, find a new meeting you have never been to, call a friend in recovery that will hold you accountable . . . and if all else fails, call your sponsor!
Put yourself out there and believe in the possibilities! It is something I have to do every day!
Sharing our stories:
I owe a part of my comeback to Heroes in Recovery. They believed in me and gave me the opportunity to be a Lead Advocate for their organization. I write a monthly blog and encourage others to share their stories of substance issues and mental health disorders.
In the past two years, I have met many brave individuals that deserve the label of “Hero” for their commitment and fortitude to live a true life of recovery.
SHED THE STIGMA:
If you’re a person in long-term recovery who wants to share your insights, please contact us at [email protected].