Approximately, one in seven American adults, age twelve and older, battles with substance use disorder. Substance Use Disorder, according to the American Addiction Centers, can include alcohol, illicit drugs, prescription medications, and even some over-the-counter medicines. Of those suffering from the substance use disorder, only ten percent will ever receive help to achieve sobriety and of those very few, forty-sixty percent of them will relapse in the first year.
As one of these statics, suffering from Substance Use Disorder, I consider it a miracle that any one of us stays sober, even for a day. After using for the majority of my life, I had a therapist that suggested that being sober was equivalent to someone telling me to be Russian today. It was as foreign to me as being a different nationality. Every day was like walking on Shattered Glass, I felt like the foundation of my existence, so tentative, could cave at any moment.
Staying sober means that I must learn to live in the moment, even when I don’t like the moment I’m in, not remorsefully looking at the past or fearfully looking into the future. Staying sober requires me to learn to walk through fears, which takes courage and a belief that something bigger than me out there thinks I deserve better than what I am willing to settle for every time. Sobriety requires me to sit still more times than not and wait for the right thought or action to be presented to me. These are not character traits that I have ever practiced before nor are they acts that come easily to me.
My normal state of being, without substances, is irritable, restless & discontent, constantly trying to change the world around me to suit my needs. Standing still and letting God change me is new to me and demands constant practice, as my first inclination is to take some kind of action. Acceptance of the world outside of myself goes against every moral fiber of my being, it’s mean, cruel and hurtful out there. Easily hurt, I am a sensitive girl that chose to abandon the world that I am now being asked to accept. I do so with care for the world hasn’t changed, however, I must to achieve sobriety.
The world is what it is, whether I like it or not, the possibility of achieving and maintaining sobriety depends on me, and the way I choose to interact with the world. I can keep fearfully fighting and rejecting it or I can learn to accept the world as it is, and doing everything I can to let God change me from the inside out.
Only then can I make a difference.