Every day for the past 9 years of my life has been a battle for my sobriety. I’ve been sober for all 9 of those years, but it seems like I face a different struggle every day. I was what you might consider a “functioning addict/alcoholic” for most of my youth, until it all caught up with me when I was thrown in jail at the age of 22. It was during that time that I started attending Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous meetings and decided to finally started making positive changes in my life. It was a gradual process, with lots of ups and downs, but I am proud to say that I came out on top and eventually became a successful entrepreneur. I’ve decided to share my journey towards sobriety with the world. This blog post is dedicated to those who are currently struggling with alcohol and addiction issues, I hope that my story can inspire you to live the life you deserve!
It all started in California. My family decided to immigrate to the United States from Colombia to provide my brother and I with more opportunities and a safer place to live. They worked hard and made sacrifices to take us away from a country where civil unrest and violence were common.
I really enjoyed growing up in California, and even more so being part of a Colombian family. You see, Colombians absolutely love spending time with their families and celebrating life. We would have regular family gatherings that usually consisted of listening to music, enjoying some delicious food, and the adults having a few shots of Aguardiente. As a child, I was always fascinated by the grown ups and the clear liquid they were consuming. Aguardiente, or fire water, is probably the most iconic alcoholic drink in Colombia. One day, I decided to sneak a few sips when the adults weren’t looking. I was 9 years old at the time. I didn’t necessarily like the taste, but I loved the intoxicated feeling I experienced. Little did I know that those sips were the beginning of a long struggle with addiction.
I continued to experiment with Alcohol until I discovered Marijuana at the age of 13. Eventually, I moved on to harder drugs like cocaine and meth. I didn’t realize I had a problem. I kept pushing my limits by abusing alcohol and drugs and damaging my relationships with family and friends. I started selling the very drugs I was abusing to keep up with my habit. One day, I got caught.
Spending time in prison can be a good thing for some people. For me, I was spiraling out of control and needed a dramatic wake up call. At first, I was extremely lethargic and bored sitting in my cell, waiting for my sentence to be served out. I eventually decided to join Alcoholics Anonymous just to spend some much needed time outside of my cell. That decision changed my life forever.
The people I met in AA inspired me with their stories and willpower. The teachings of the Big Book opened my mind. The 12 step programs gave me the framework I needed to get better. I am an Agnostic, and often had trouble relating to other group members that were using their faith as fuel for their recovery. Everyone in AA still welcomed me with open arms and had alternative solutions for me to aid me during my recovery.
I continued working the program and attending meetings after I got out of prison. I managed to find a job selling perfume and quickly got promoted. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that I had switched out one addiction for another. I became a workaholic and ended up neglecting everything I had learned in the AA meetings. I relapsed hard and decided to check into a drug and alcohol rehab center.
I hated what I had become and felt completely lost. Luckily, I remembered the impact that AA and NA meetings had on me in the past and decided to start going back and working the program again. I started doing better, living healthier, and thinking positive. I met someone in those meetings that became my sponsor and made a tremendous impact on my recovery. After a few weeks, he gave me an ultimatum – pass a college course or find another sponsor. He recognized that I needed something productive in my life to help me stay sober and on the right track.
I decided to take a Web Design course at the local community college and found myself enthralled with the subject matter. I had always been intrigued by computers and internet technology, and that course was a match made in heaven for me. I had discovered a new passion – coding and digital media. I dove into the subjects headfirst and quickly became well versed in web design and digital marketing. I eventually moved back to Colombia to start my own business and live the life I believe I have always deserved.
Things have been going great and I have never been happier. Sometimes I reflect on the tough times and bad experiences I have gone through that got me to this point in my life. Those memories always remind me to be grateful for Alcoholics Anonymous and the people that have been by my side throughout my recovery.
As you can see, the road to sobriety can be a difficult one. It requires complete focus and your utmost dedication to continue to stay sober. I am so proud of what I have accomplished during my 9 years of sobriety and hope that my story can inspire you to go to a meeting and start your path towards recovery. If you found this post inspiring or would like to share a story of your own, please leave a comment below.