Well, it’s 2019. Another year, another year older. I’m at the age when I’m starting to wish time would slow down a little bit. I want to enjoy life as much as possible while I’m still young, and time just seems to keep moving faster and faster. The people I care about keep getting older and it really scares me sometimes. But overall, I’m grateful to be going into a new year happy and healthy. This is my third New Year in recovery. To be honest, before I got sober, I wasn’t sure I would make it this far.
I spent about five years total in active addiction, using some form of drugs or alcohol pretty much every day, as much as I could. That length of time is more than some, although some people manage to last even longer before they die or get sober. At the end, I simply couldn’t take the pain and suffering anymore. It got to the point where it seemed like the only way out was to get sober, so that’s what I did. I went to treatment. Of course, if you’ve read my previous blogs, you’ll know things didn’t “stick” on the first try. But every time I relapsed, I tried again, and that brings me to where I am today—just about three years sober and enjoying the best life I ever have.
In recovery, the New Year celebrations look a little bit different for me than they do for most people. Most people go out to bars or to a party, drink as much as possible, and maybe make out with a stranger at midnight. I prefer to have a quieter night. In fact, for the last couple years, I fell asleep before it was even midnight and woke up in the new year. I guess that’s another thing that comes with getting older. This year, I’m lucky to be traveling during the New Year, so I’ll be having a traditional Japanese celebration while I’m in that country.
Getting to go on a trip like this, and celebrate in a unique way, is just one of the many benefits that came to me when I got sober. I am finally able to hold down a job and resist spending every penny on drugs, so I can afford to save up and go on vacation occasionally. And I can hold myself together so that I don’t end up intoxicated and in trouble in some place far from home (true story, it happened to me more than once in the bad old days).
The moral of the story is, things change over time, and the New Year is a great time to reflect on this. Life moves so fast that it’s hard to notice the changes from day to day, but when I look back, things are very different now from what they were even a few years ago. By far the biggest change to my life has been recovery—it has given me back everything I ever lost in addiction, and then some. Getting sober was the single best decision I have ever made and gives me countless things to be grateful for every single day. Getting older may not be fun, but I am incredibly excited to see what the new year has in store for me.