I have always relied on God, my sponsor and the 12 Steps to help keep me sober. So far, this combination has always worked for me, but I know it takes more than that to maintain my sobriety.
I don't dwell on my past, but I definitely don't forget it either. Therefore, I keep a police mug shot of myself in my toothbrush drawer as a reminder to keep on with my sobriety. Out of the many things I do to stay sober, including keeping that police mug shot in my drawer, I live by quotes -- quotes that are my own, and quotes from others. The words in these quotes not only touch base on my constant journey in sobriety, but also serve as my tools to keep moving on that path.
"Before you act, listen. Before you react, think. Before you spend, earn. Before you criticize, wait. Before you pray, forgive. Before you quit, try." -- Ernest Hemmingway
For me, my addiction was all about instant gratification. I didn't think about anything, I would just do. I was impulsive, and did whatever I wanted whether it was purchasing things, going to events, etc. I now understand that everyone who is in recovery struggles with instant gratification, so when I was in therapy, I really focused on doing the right things. For the first six months of my recovery, I took guidance from my sponsor and surrendered to my disease. I was powerless over my addiction, but "before I quit, I was going to try" -- and I am now almost four years sober.
"Anything worth having is not easy."
This quote is one that I hold extremely close. When I was more involved in the entertainment business, everything was handed to me -- cars, girls, money, etc. I didn't appreciate any of it. I now know it's because I hardly worked for it. I didn't have a job until I was 23, and now I understand the value of a dollar. You are going to get out what you put in, whether you are in recovery or are just making your way through everyday life.
"All great changes are preceded by chaos." -- Deepak Chopra
I understand the chaos that used to be in my life, and believe me, I understand where it has taken me. However, I also understand where it's going. Now, because I am aware of my surroundings, I can see that everything happens for a reason. I use this quote as a tool to stay positive. If I put a negative spin on everything in my life, this wouldn't work. I was at the lowest of lows to a point where I wanted to commit suicide. I was publicly humiliated, but I turned it around. I believe God has put me here for a reason, so now I start from the top and work backwards. I never thought that today, I would be working at a facility like Northbound Treatment Services. I don't know how I am here -- it's a miracle.