With freedom being a hot topic this week with July 4th around the corner, I thought I’d delve into what that means for me in terms of my addiction.
Freedom from the isolation of addiction, both mentally and spiritually, was one of the best gifts I received through sobriety. I was not alone physically very often, but that didn’t mean I didn’t feel completely and utterly alone in every possible way. Getting sober and strengthening my personal relationship with God has given me open eyes and an open heart, receiving real friends, renewed relationships with my family, and a spiritual life that leaves me fulfilled, enabling me to get through the darkest of days. Even if I have times of loneliness, I know I am not alone. I know there are people I can reach out to and a Savior who loves me unconditionally. This is a comfort I sought my entire life and have only been able to find through my Savior in sobriety.
Freedom from being ruled by emotion. Another incredible gift that I have received through sobriety, that did not come without a lot of self-seeking, hard work and time. I used to wake up and have severe anxiety attacks daily, with more spread throughout the day. They worsened as my addiction took hold over me, and even into early sobriety I couldn’t seem to escape or control what was happening when my anxiety started to creep up. Today, while not free from anxiety by any means, it is rare I have an actual anxiety attack. Centering in my faith, working through steps and doing a plethora of other things, have given me strength and know-how to be able to work through the anxiety that creeps up and stop it at its source. This is something I never even knew was possible for me, and this gift alone made all the tough days in getting sober worth it.
Freedom from a lack of choice. There was a point in my drinking and using that I seemed to have completely lost the ability to even choose to not pick up. Looking back, I can see how this behavior started way before my addiction took a stronghold over my life, but it was only made worse when I was active in addition. I couldn’t live with substances and I couldn’t live without them – I had lost the ability to choose. They ruled over my life, ran me into the ground, and took everything I had. I vividly remember instances when I so badly wanted to just be “normal” but I didn’t have any control over the obsession and need to use something to even exist. I never knew “normal” but I was sure the way I was feeling and living wasn’t it. God removed the obsession from me relatively early into sobriety, but I had to continue to do works to keep what I had been given. It is biblical that “faith without works is dead” and I truly believe that, likewise, sobriety without works cannot be kept. It is a daily reprieve, even if we no longer have the obsession.
I am incredibly grateful to have been given the freedoms, well beyond what was listed, that I have today. While these three examples set a foundation to being to be able to rebuild my life in a newer and healthier way, they are only three of the many. I am no shining example of sobriety. I am by no means perfect and there are times I probably abuse my freedoms. Sometimes I even forget what it was like and what I had to go through to get to where I am today. It is reminders from those newly sober, and being able to step back and relate to them, and show them that a new life in sobriety is possible because I did it. I did not do it alone, but when push came to shove, I did the work. God gave us free will, and I am grateful, at the end of the day, that I decided to choose something better, even though it was initially harder.
Freedom from active addition is possible. Freedom of isolation, lack of choice, inability to control all emotions… these gifts are all waiting for you as you trudge the road of happy destiny. If you are getting sober, I urge you to stick it through. Reach out, pray, and seek any help you need. I am here as a living witness to tell you it is worth it. Today I am free from the bondage of addiction, and I earnestly pray that you will be too.