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I Struggled, But I Overcame

tattoo

If you struggled with addiction, you know how it is. The constant drive to use, the constant pressure to find the next hit. It’s like a living nightmare you can’t wake up from – even when you try to.

If things get real bad, you might even experience death. It’s a funny feeling, ya know? You wake up to all of these strangers surrounding you, telling you that you overdosed. They almost made it seem like they actually cared about you, but then you remembered that this was just their job and you go back to feeling nothing. You would think that facing death would be enough to get your act together, but somehow, it’s not.

And then there are the friends, well you think they are your friends.

You’ve been through everything together, the highs, the lows, and you even crash on each other’s couches when you can’t seem to make rent. You think they are your best buddies in the world, until you suddenly realize that your life is in shambles and you want more. You are forced to cut ties with them because all they do is surround you with temptation when you are trying to be serious about staying clean.

My Changing Point

All this is how it was for me. I thought I had the greatest friends, but they were just content living as slaves to their addiction. I was over it. I wanted more out of my life. I wanted to start being in charge of myself, not letting the drugs rule me and my existence.

It got to the point where all I was doing was getting angry at them for not understanding. We just didn’t want the same things anymore so I cut ties.

I really just wanted my free will back. It had been lost to my addiction and I needed it back. I needed it to feel like I was living for something, because I hadn’t really been living at all lately.

It was after this realization that actually started trying to get clean, but try is the key word here.  Every time I tried, I would fail and get more and more discouraged. Addiction had this power over me and until I gave it all up to God, it wouldn’t let me go.

To be honest, there was a long time where I thought I would never see recovery. I didn’t think I was cut out for it since every time I tried, I would relapse.  

And this really got to me, the idea that I wouldn’t get better. I started feeling depressed and that just made things worse. At that point, I knew I couldn’t do it alone so I reached out for help.

I Got Help

Asking for help was one of the scariest things, and there was really no reason to feel that way. I just felt so helpless and vulnerable. What if someone told me no? What if they weren’t willing to help me? I was just being so stupid thinking these things.

Someone referred me to Transitions Recovery and man, I am so glad I found them. Now, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t just smooth sailing as soon as I entered the program. I failed again, even after the help. Bet you weren’t expecting that!

But guess what? I came back and I tried again. I wasn’t going to give up that easy.

This last time around I finally understood. I finally knew that God would help lead me to sobriety. Something really felt different this time and I can say that I have been clean ever since.

I felt like I was no longer battling the idea of relapse, I started to embrace it. I started realizing that I had to take every day, one by one. I couldn’t trust myself, no way. I had to stop looking too far ahead and just focus my energy on the moment and accept that it was going to be a daily struggle.

My One Year

By the time I reached my one year sober date, I was elated. I felt like I finally had broken a milestone that I had spent years trying to reach. It makes me feel so good just thinking about it!

So what did I do? I celebrated in the best way that I knew how, I got a commemorative tattoo.

Now, tattoos and I go way back. I always felt like they let me express myself in any way that I wanted to. Their meaning was always personal and it was a way that I could tell my story without actually telling it.

I would get one every now and then, but it had to be a momentous occasion. I wouldn’t just ink up my arm on a whim. Every single one I got took a lot of time and consideration.

Yes, tattoos have always been important to me, but my favorite one, the one that really means the most to me is the one I got for my one year sobriety.

Man, that was a big day for me.

I see that tattoo every single day and it reminds me of where I came from and where I am meant to go. Yes, there is a lot of pain and sleepless nights behind it, but it sees into my future. It comforts me and reminds me of where I can go.

I am not defined by my past, but what I decide to do with my future and that’s something I really take to heart. Every single day is a new battle where I choose to stay sober and I am choosing it for me.

I look at it with such a deep sense of pride. I really didn’t think I would be able to conquer this whole recovery thing. I thought my life would always be dictated by the drugs and that would be it. I thought I would become another statistic.

I’m so thankful for it and what it means to me.

Anyone else have a special tattoo for their recovery or a story they want to share?

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