While most people are staying up all night tonight getting wasted and kissing random strangers when the clock strikes twelve I am in quiet inward reflection, on my couch at home- where I have been for the last nine years. I truly hit rock bottom nine years ago– with a tumultuous drive out to a trance party two days before New Years’s being the grand finale of my rapid downward spiral– I can’t help but ponder on how typical of my dramatic personality
it is that I would choose this has a recovery anniversary.
So here I am, clean for nine years. In fact I have not used for 3285 days or 78840 hours my nerds.

Like all addicts, there have been days when I’ve felt secure with my sobriety, and there have also been many days when I’ve survived from minute to minute questioning my very existence.
In honour of my nine years of sobriety and the turning
over of a new calendar page, instead of spending too much time on resolutions,
I would prefer to look at how far I have come.
Here are the nine things I have learned during my nine years of sobriety:
1. I am an addict and that’s okay
 
I firmly believe that some people are just born with an
“addictive personality.”  This is
my curse and also my super power.  This
addictive personality can be harnessed and put to good use. For the longest
time I thought I couldn’t feel the same passion I felt for drugs for anything
else, but then I discovered business, PR, writing – the kind I was finally
getting paid for. I found boxing, MMA and Jiu- Jitsu and I found selfless
relationships in being a mother and a wife.
 2. Party Friends Are NOT Real Friends
 
You know,  friends you have when the booze and drugs are flowing, especially
when you’re buying- which I did a lot! Everyone wants to hang with the party
girl bur as soon as I stopped partying, I stopped seeing those “friends”. I was
lonely for a long time and bitter and sad, mourning the loss of friends. In
time I realized that these friends were never friends at all and I was actually
gifted a much-needed detox in my life. Real friends are there for you no matter
what. They don’t abandon you in times of need, they embrace you. Sure, I lost a
ton of friends during this time in my life, but I gained way more by holding
onto the friendships that contained more value. Quality over quantity.

 

3. I am learning the art of communication
 
When you’re high, every conversation is interesting and you
could talk for hours about the same damn thing, thinking it’s the most amazing
thing ever. And in those moments, you’re having the time of your life… You’re
experiencing the best conversation you’ve ever had… And you feel so connected
and close to the people around you. And then you wake up. All those seemingly
endless, pointless conversations that I had with people while I was high were
simply just conversations we kept going for the sake of continuing to get high.
The longer we talked, the more time we had to keep going.
I keep working to embody the art of having real
conversations all over again. Meaningful conversations are the ones that peak
your interest; that ignite your soul in a way that keeps you lit. These are
conversations that you remember having with people that you choose to be
around. Meaningful conversations involve being open, authentic, and attentive,
and they have so much value to offer to each person in that particular
conversation.
4. To feel is to heal
 
When we numb our pain with drugs and alcohol we bury it and
avoid dealing with it. Then that pain begins to fester within us… growing until
it begins to cloak us with its darkness. And so we numb some more. It’s a
vicious, endless cycle of self-hatred and self-abuse. Emotions are simply
energy, and energy moves through us. By surrendering to our emotions and giving
ourselves permission to feel, we allow that energy to move through us,
eventually moving right through us.
5. It’s okay to fuck up
 
As an addict admitting that a mistake has been made or
facing any kind of conflict is too overwhelming. Reaching for drugs and running
away seems like a much easier option. I have been forced into uncomfortable situations
where running away was no longer an option and facing the music and taking ownership
felt like I was pealing my face off with a scalpel, but the more you do it, the
easier it gets and you learn that you can survive it.
6. I am not perfect but
I am still loved
 
A huge part of addictive thinking is about not feeling ‘good
enough’ and often feeling ashamed about the life we have lived and the things
we have done.  My sobriety has allowed me
take ownership of who I am in all my glorious imperfection and start to accept
that I am good enough.
7. Do what you say you are going to do, when you say you are going to do it
 
Integrity and honesty are not the attributes of an addict
and I know so many addicts in recovery who are sober but still display addict behavior
like dishonestly and unreliability. Staying true to your word is vital for successful
relationships and growing a business and its one of the hardest things to stick
to.
8. What? It’s Not All About Me?
 
If you get to really know any addict intimately, you’ll
uncover a megalomaniac with an inferiority complex. The best way I’ve learned
to keep this unsightly part of my personality in check, is to sit down and talk
to another struggling addict. It really is magic how being present for someone
in crisis and giving my time to be a sounding board for someone else, allows me
to escape my own “monkey brain” for a while and realize life is not
all about me. I strongly believe that compassion is a fast depleting human
attribute that can see a serious comeback if we all choose to see beyond yourselves
for a little.
9.  And the Award for ‘MOST STUBBORN’ Goes To…
 
The most important lesson I’ve learned in my sobriety is
that I am a lot stronger than I give myself credit for. Call it stubbornness,
pigheadedness or just plain belligerence, but battling to stay sober one day at
a time forges a huge sense of accomplishment and inner strength.

 

Each of these lessons has held various levels of
significance throughout my nine years of sobriety, and at times, they have been
my superhero cape that allow me to escape the downward spiral of addiction.