Giving Yourself the Gift of Sobriety

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Captain Michael Morse, retired, Providence Fire Department

Deciding to stop doing whatever it is you have become addicted to is great. I decided to stop drinking pretty much right after I started. It only took me twenty-five years to get up the courage to actually do it. I lived in denial, created chaos and may have sabotaged a bright future by waiting. I wish that I understood that by giving up, I was actually giving to. What better gift to give yourself than the gift of sobriety. The thought of it teases most people who struggle with addiction. We hold on to our habits far too long, knowing that the possibility of a better way exists, but remains just beyond our reach. Now is the best time to reach out and give yourself something that will in turn be worth far more than your own sobriety. Each and every one of us effects the people around us. We can be positive influences in their lives, or the cause of pain, sadness and worry.

But how does a person give themselves this gift?

By asking for it.

There is no better way to find lasting, contented sobriety than to put yourself in position to learn why you do the things you do, how to stop, and how to stay away from the habits that are causing you so much pain. Recovery is far more than abstinence. My first few attempts at sobriety were destined to fail for the simple reason that I was angry that I had to stop doing something that I valued. Yes, as crazy as it sounds, there is value in intoxication. In it, I found peace. I was able to feel what I thought was normal. I convinced myself that intoxicated was more desirable than my natural state.

When I tried to stop drinking on my own I forced myself to be uncomfortable in an effort to find some modicum of peace within myself. It never worked. Put simply, I was doomed. I returned to alcohol again and again, never realizing how close to the answer I was. To successfully take control of myself, I needed to understand myself. It is difficult to do that while mad at the world.

There are people who understand people like me. Better than that, those people know exactly how to get people like me to understand ourselves. We are not broken; we are a little damaged, but not beyond repair. With a good foundation that trained counselors can help build, we can more easily take the next steps toward rebuilding our lives.

Recovery is not failure, it is a gift. There is no shame in going after that gift with everything you have. Waiting for somebody to walk you to the door to rehab results in a lot of wasted time. Sometimes you have to give yourself a chance, give yourself a gift and give everybody around you a break. The person you were meant to be, and the people in your life who are waiting for you stand a far better chance of getting you back when you take control, and get some help.

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