1 year sober: Life changes, progress

Andrew Paisley, Opinion Editor

I can’t believe it’s been one whole year, 12 months, 52 weeks and 365 days since I’ve had a drink, let alone a single drop of alcohol.

On October 28, 2018, I surrendered to my loved ones and to God my Higher Power. I was unmanageable. My whole life at that very point was astray and I couldn’t go on living like a person should live.

I had been suffering with an addiction to alcohol for two years at that point, an addiction to cocaine and for four months with a highly disastrous addiction to amphetamines. I was out of control.

I’ll never forget my parents calling me that night. They interrogated me about my odd behavior, my constant money transactions from my bank account and the other oddities that I was showing. I couldn’t go on any longer, so I admitted to them that I was on drugs.

It was a moment of high emotions that I will never forget as long as I live.

My parents were mortified, shocked, sad, angry and completely beside themselves over what I had told them. And of course, they had every right to be.

This conversation occurred at midnight. My parents instructed my suitemates to immediately clear out the alcohol and any substances I had in my possession, confiscate my car keys and to make sure I didn’t leave the building until that morning when they instructed me to drive home.

I dropped out mid semester, went home for three days where I slept endlessly as I was coming down and having withdrawals. That Wednesday, I entered treatment in Rockford.

Life was better after I got clean from alcohol and drugs, but unfortunately I had two very short relapses within the last week of February with substances. I was completely disappointed in myself.

Although I will not be celebrating a year of being clean today, as my definition of being clean means abstaining from all drugs and alcohol, this day is still very important for me.

This day, one year ago, was the start of my journey into recovery. And I am amazed still at the thought that alcohol has not been in my body for 365 days!

I never thought it was possible for me to go even one single day without alcohol.

My life has been interestingly amazing and stressful within the last 365 days. I’ve had my good days and my bad days, I’ve had days where I isolated myself because of my depression or because of different emotions I was feeling with being in recovery, but I haven’t given up. Even after those two relapses, it still wasn’t enough for me to throw in the towel and go back out to that terribly dark, unmanageable and disastrous life that I once lived. And I hope to never go back out again.

I’ve become part of an amazing recovery community right here in Charleston who have been my rock. Sometimes the highlight of my day is attending a Narcotics Anonymous meeting or even meeting with my sponsor.

My family and friends have gone above and beyond to support me, and I can’t begin to truly thank them enough.

We all fall short in life at some point, but what’s important is how we go on with our lives and how we choose to better ourselves.

For anyone who is suffering from this beast we call addiction and who wants to get help, please do not hesitate to contact me personally or contact the National Drug Helpline by dialing 1-844-289-0879.

Andrew Paisley is a senior journalism major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or at abpaisley@eiu.edu

This article originally appeared in The Eastern Daily News: https://www.dailyeasternnews.com/2019/10/27/column-1-year-sober-life-changes-progress/

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