“I share this neither for pity nor for praise, but for hope. Hope for those who still suffer in silence as I did for so long. Hope that no matter how lost in the dark you are, there is still light inside you waiting to shine again.
My first bout with addiction was from 2004 to 2007. My life was a party for 5 days, sleep for 2, party for 6 days, sleep for 1, repeat. I got off drugs for 2 years, but was not in a good place mentally; I was in the textbook definition of a toxic relationship. I became a prisoner in my own mind, which eventually led me back to drugs in order to escape my reality. I went out this time with the mentality that since I got clean once, I could do it again. Anytime I want. Boy, was I wrong.
My second bout with addiction is when I truly learned what it meant to be addicted. I had always thought I could stop whenever I wanted. I wholeheartedly believed that until I couldn’t; And I was okay with that because I didn’t want to stop. Drugs were my life, my family, my friends, my identity, my job, my everything. It became my ‘goal’ to do more drugs than everyone else around me, and I did… I would consume absurd amounts for the next 9 years. I was literally high every minute of the day and night. I would even do drugs while I slept. Eventually, they no longer had any effect on me. Or so I thought, anyway. I just didn’t feel the ‘high’ anymore. I was chasing the dragon.
Early 2016, I started to put on a lot of weight. By the end of the year, my legs started to swell. They would swell for a week at a time, then go back to normal. I started noticing my breathing wasn’t the best, but I just assumed it was because I was out of shape. At the end of the day, it didn’t matter because I had my drugs.
By 2017, my legs were swollen 100% of the time, to the point I could no longer wear socks or shoes my size. I tried cutting the elastics from the socks, but even then it cut my circulation off and was too painful to wear. I had to buy shoes a size bigger and triple wide. I had lost all the hair on my legs and had water leaking out of my pores. But it didn’t matter, because I had my drugs.
By the beginning of 2018, my breathing had gotten so bad, I could no longer rest flat. I would be gasping for air just from getting dressed. I couldn’t even lean forward to put on shoes. It would take me almost 10 minutes to walk up the flight of stairs to get into my apartment. I was no longer able to keep food down and I had little to no bladder control. Every part of my body was filled with fluid. I lived this way for the next 5 and a half months.
May 24, 2018, I went to the hospital and was immediately admitted. They drained 35lbs of water from me that night. Over the next 33 days, an additional 35lbs of water was drained from me. After several tests, the doctors discovered that my heart’s left ventricle was weak and my heart was functioning at 20% which in turn was causing my liver, kidneys, and bladder to fail.
Lying in that hospital bed, something inside changed. Suddenly, I was finished with drugs. I didn’t know it at the time, but this was the first spark of my inner spirit coming back to life. Nobody tells you that the biggest step out of addiction is the smallest step in recovery. During my first couple of years off drugs, I had no idea who I was, I was full of fear, anxiety, confusion, self-doubt, had no self-esteem, no self-worth; I felt like a 38-year-old newborn baby in the world.
The next spark of my spirit happened when I realized that even though I was no longer doing drugs, I was not doing anything different. Just existing in life, not living it, and I didn’t go through everything I went through to continue watching life pass me by. I just hadn’t the slightest idea how to live it.
This is when I decided to implement a program in my life. My program has taught me how to live life on life’s terms, not mine. Because no matter where I am, how I feel, or what I am doing, life is gonna happen. So, now I have a choice. Life can happen TO me or life can happen FOR me. I am no longer a victim of circumstance, letting people, places, and things affect my inner peace. I choose to grow, evolve, look for the positive or the lesson in every situation. I am no longer a prisoner of my past, I am the pioneer of my future.
Between living the program and changing the way I think, incorporating positive thinking into my routine, my inner spirit awoke and the life in my eyes now shines brighter than ever. It’s been a little over 3 years now since my recovery journey began and I am the happiest and healthiest I have ever been. My heart has made a FULL recovery. I have found my authentic self. I am the best place mentally, spiritually, and physically that I have ever been.
We all have a life inside of us waiting to explode, we just need to get out of our own way! Change the way you think, I can not stress this enough! It’s our thinking that led us to drugs in the first place. Learn to love yourself. As addicts, we spend so many years hating ourselves, putting ourselves down. Why not try loving yourself and see what happens?!
After all, the only person with you every single second of your life, from the time you are born, till the time you die, is yourself! So are you going to be your friend or your foe? Stop standing in your own shadow! Positive thinking daily, positive affirmations daily! You are worth it! We do recover! I am not special; there is nothing inside of me that is not inside of you! If I can do it, anyone can!”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Adam Graglia. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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