Jim’s Story of Addiction and Recovery
Hi, my name is Jim, I have the disease of addiction, I am a drug addict and alcoholic, I only separate these two because of the perception by society that alcohol is different, this means that whenever I use a mind altering substance of any kind, I cannot easily stop using it, and have no concept of the outcome of my using. After twenty years of drinking and using, my life became hopeless, and I felt helpless and useless. This disease affected me mentally (vengeful and destructive thinking along with blaming), physically (broken bones due to fights and accidents, poor health, and loss of freedom) emotionally (feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and uselessness) and spiritually (disconnected from myself, my beliefs and morals). As well, it affected everyone else around me, much to my surprise how much it did affect others, I only found this fact out after I found recovery. The disease is real, when and where I got it from is inconsequential, only what I can do about it here and now.
I was given the opportunity for recovery on January 3, 1991, and despite my many tries at sabotaging it in the first few years, I have remained sober. With help from my beliefs, my family and my friends I stayed in recovery, however, I still felt unfulfilled after a few years and decided to become an Substance Abuse Counsellor, I found out what I needed to do to become one and proceeded to get an education. It was hard, scary and draining, but I kept my focus and doubled my efforts in my recovery. I graduated in my early forties and have been excited about my career since then. My experience and good fortune has given me the opportunity to practise as an addiction counsellor at a treatment centre called Always Hope in the beautiful Dominican Republic.
I recently went back to central Alberta for a vacation to see my wonderful children, my beautiful grandchildren and many caring friends, I was there for a month and in that time I heard of a half dozen deaths due to substance abuse, some by people using or others who had fallen into relapse, such a sad thing to hear for sure, but it’s the harsh reality of this disease, and if I don’t practise what I need to maintain my recovery, I could lose it very quickly.
I have to maintain a balance between my spiritual beliefs, my physical health, my emotional well-being and my patterns of thinking to stay ahead of my disease, I am not always on top of these and I slip into my old behaviours pretty quickly, but I soon realize my mistakes and am able to regroup, with help of course.
I want to thank anyone who reads this as it helped me to ground myself in gratitude, and if you feel you have lost control of your using or drinking, please give us a call at Always Hope, we may be able to help.