All I wanted in life was purpose
-to bring value and love and enthusiasm into the lives of others. My upbringing gave me the structure and support needed to thrive in life. I got everything I ever needed, and most of what I wanted.
My family loved me unconditionally, but it became apparent at an early age that I had a hard time loving myself. Loving myself was tough because I compared my insides to people’s outsides, and my insides were never as good as their outsides seemed to be.
I heard somewhere that non-alcoholics change their behaviors to meet their goals; I did this for the first eighteen years of my life.
I had a deep love and respect for the game of lacrosse and it became my goal to play at the collegiate level. On the lacrosse field was where I felt connected to the present moment. It was the only place I didn’t feel inadequate, less than, not good enough, etc. All my hard work and dedication came to fruition – at around 18 years old I verbally committed to play lacrosse at a small liberal arts college in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Around that same time, I tried a substance for the first time, a substance that comfortably filled the void inside of myself, a substance that completely derailed the trajectory of my life. 3 years of school went by – it was in those three years that drugs and alcohol became the only goal in my life worth pursuing. I turned 21 in my first treatment center and didn’t decide to change my life until June 23rd, 2017 – a little over four years later.
Throughout those 4 or 5 years, anything I placed before my recovery, I lost – I lost a lot of things I loved. My willingness to change was dynamic; it constantly progressed just as frequently as it regressed. For 5 years I was stuck in a state of ambivalence – was I really a drug addict and alcoholic?
The answer was clearly yes, but there’s such a stigma attached to addiction that it became a hard label to willingly accept. But it’s not about what I’ve lost, it’s about what I’ve learned about myself along the way, it’s about the process. I always liked the saying, “the setback is just the setup for the comeback” - because everybody loves a good comeback story.
When I finally embraced who I was, a recovering drug addict and alcoholic, my life started to change. The moment I accepted myself as an addict and alcoholic was the moment I realized I had found purpose in life: to help other sick and suffering addicts and alcoholics to achieve sobriety.