For me, sobriety is a valuable reminder that time lost is time you can’t get back. For years, I spent most of my time with drugs and alcohol, putting my impulsive nature and cravings ahead of anything or anyone else. The time that I spent using was precious time that I lost with my family. I remember many nights as an addict—as my family would be sitting and watching television, I would be preparing to leave the house in order to score drugs. My mother would sometimes cry and beg me not to leave, no doubt worried that I wouldn’t be coming home that night or something would happen to me out there.
Don't Take Time for Granted
The gratitude I have today, knowing that I have survived something like that and come out a sober person, is something I never underestimate or let myself forget. I am so lucky to have been given a second chance at life and to have left those days behind me. As the opioid crisis ravages our nation, leaving many families shattered and lives lost, I have no doubt that I could have been one of those casualties. As of today, I can count at least 5 lifelong friends who have passed away as a result of drug or alcohol abuse. Were I to sit and think about all the acquaintances or family members who have struggled with addiction, the number would be even larger.
In recovery, I’ve learned not to take the time I now have for granted. My past addictions to opioids and alcohol took me away from the people in my life. The years I spent partying, looking for drugs or consuming alcohol are of little value now except for the lessons I have learned. That’s not to say that I have regrets. I try not to wallow or spend time regretting the things I can’t get back anymore. I now realize those are years in which I could have finished school or worked on my career.
However, time is not necessarily a bad thing. It is clear to me today that I needed time in order to get sober and get myself together. Even if it took me years longer than others, that was the path my life took. Without that, I would not be in recovery today.
Reconnecting With Loved Ones
Since reconnecting with my loved ones, I now value all the time I can get with my friends and family. After I became sober, my family moved to another state and I only saw them a few times a year. Shortly after, my father passed away. I began making an effort to share as many moments as I could with close friends and family members. When gatherings happen, if I can be there, I will. Even if I have a busy schedule, I say yes to outings whenever I can. Those years of missing out on family events and special occasions made me realize how quickly time can pass. Our friends and family are also subject to the laws of nature and of time, so they won’t be here forever. This also reminds me to stay humble to remain grateful.
I won’t ever forget how I gambled with time and with a life consumed by addiction for a long time. Sobriety has shown me never to take for granted your life and what we are given, and that each day sober truly is a blessing.