I’ve always felt that I had a strong sense of loyalty to others I’ve gotten to know well in a short period of time or felt committed to tasks or work that align with my morals or value system. However, the result of my dedication isn’t just about the quality of work or the quantity of friends I make, for me it’s about being productive, having a sense of worth and purpose, and maintaining and pursuing new adventures. My addiction had me dedicated to a life not worth living. Today, I can say I view life much differently. I have my up’s and down’s but I don’t give up.
In my futureless past I dedicated my life to drugs, destruction and wrongdoings. I was convinced that there was nothing left for me in life besides living on the streets and withering away with each drug I put in my body. Words cannot explain how grateful I am now that I have pulled myself out of that hell of a life. Although I had to completely run myself in to the ground to do something about it, that moment finally came. Coming through the doors of South Orange County Detox and Treatment saved my life, LITERALLY. I took too many pills and they had to rush me to the hospital to get my stomach pumped. If I would have chosen to go anywhere else, I would be dead. Realizing that I was now in a safe place surrounded by love, support, and motivation, I made the decision to listen to what they had to say. Some of it was hard to accept but I dedicated myself trying the suggestions given to me. Without a full surrender you cannot fully dedicate yourself to anything. South Orange County Detox and Treatment has saved my life and given me a new purpose to help others gain the very tools that were taught to me, as well as being dedicated to my recovery program. I used to think that people who would say these things were crazy, until they all started coming true. It is possible to change your life no matter how hopeless, broken, or beaten down you may be. It’s all a matter of dedicating yourself to something greater than yourself and, in my case, a mentor. It’s never too late to change.
Having an attitude of gratitude can really shift your perspective into a positive light. Being grateful for what you have instead of looking at what you don’t have can help you restart your day. Instead of comparing myself to what others have I try on a daily basis to be grateful for what I do have which helps me not to take those things for granted. When I practice gratitude I find myself much happier and grateful for the little things.
In my early sobriety, it was easy to see the things that I was grateful for, mostly because before I was in hell drinking and using. I was definitely grateful for the help South Orange County Detox and Treatment (SOCD) and Salina provided for me as that was a no brainer. It was my resentments that was blocking me off from having gratitude for the others that stuck by my side. I was horrible to my family and I made them out to be there worst people in the world when really it was me who was completely destructive and antisocial. It took me a long time to finally start realizing that my family really did stick by my side and fought for me when I needed help this time. They helped me get here to SOCD and now with two years of sobriety under my belt, they have completely transformed me into a better man. I say that it is easier to know what I was grateful for when I was in early sobriety because I was in a state of surrender. When I started getting more time under my belt and at times even being complacent, I have been selfish in my thoughts overlooking the big picture of what I now have in my life. Although I have these fleeting thoughts I have people here at SOCD that have been with me since day one that are able to pull me out of that “Stinking Thinking” and help me grow from my mistakes. I am forever grateful for the friends I have made here and my family who still believes in me.
To me gratitude means showing your appreciation for something. Being pleased or happy with someone or a certain situation or outcome. Today, I have many things to be grateful for, but a lot of the times its easy for me to forget how much I have to be grateful for and I only focus on the negative aspects in my life. Being in treatment has definitely opened my eyes to this and made being grateful for all the good in my life so much easier.
There’s been a question I’ve been asking myself repeatedly since getting sober - How many times have I taken all of life gifts for granted? Being able to reflect on this, I’ve realized I’ve taken almost everything for granted in a careless manner throughout life. I was raised in Southern Orange County and never had to ask for much - I was given everything and was thankful to an extent but never sincerely grateful. I was never mindful of just how truly lucky I am.
I was raised in an alcoholic household where it was hard to be grateful for anything. The only thing I was grateful for were the times when I could escape the chaos and suffering of living at home. I found solace in my friends, my music and the determination to not be like my family. However, I was led awry. I eventually became what I despised - a drug addict and one for many years. I let my dreams and aspirations slip away. It wasn’t until I checked in to South Orange County Detox and Treatment (SOCD) when I was able to slowly tether myself back to my foundation, the core of who I truly am.
Working with Salina has lifted the veil of uncertainty and doubt in which I was shrouded in for so long. I’ve learned to be grateful for every act of kindness, every lesson, every experience and just everything around me. I’ve learned that every experience, good or bad, gives me a gift in wisdom and growth, if I so choose to see the meaning behind it all. This shift is allowing me to approach life from a different angle, to view everything from a different perspective. I’m trying to be grateful for everything which I had taken for granted the past. I have my health, my mind, a newly regained sense of self, people who love and support me … I have life again. And for that, I'm grateful beyond words can describe.
Most people are apprehensive when it comes to change. It might be fear of the unknown or we don’t want anything to disrupt what we currently have. Instead of embracing it as a chance to grow, we avoid it at all costs. However, one thing’s for sure, we will all experience changes, both negative and positive. It is how we react to those changes that determines or ability to adapt and move forward. For myself, getting clean was a difficult but positive change. At first I wondered how I would cope with life without using drugs. What I have found is that if I am open to change it makes it a lot easier to handle, if I am resistant or try to control the situation, I am usually more uneasy and irritated. Today change is a chance to grow emotionally and spiritually.
Overcoming years of addiction, self-defeating behaviors and thoughts has required an honest and thorough look into myself. Although uncomfortable, this insight has proved valuable. No longer am I plagued or tortured by feelings of overwhelming guilt, shame or insecurities. Quite the opposite. Today I can reflect and process my feelings and emotions in order to evaluate what it is I want and need. This want, this yearning for change, spars development and growth that I knew I was capable of. It has shown me my strengths and my weaknesses and trimmed the unhealthy fat from my true self. Being able to truly want and accept change has been more comforting than I could have imagined.
Change is one of the most difficult thing to accept in my life. I life familiarity, I like things to stay the same. Unfortunately, my life was a wreck and something needed to be done immediately. Coming to rehab and working on myself would get hard because from time to time I would get in my head wishing that I could change this, wishing I could change that. If only I didn’t start using or hanging out with those people, I wouldn’t be here. These would just be my normal fleeting thoughts. Now that I have made a foundation for myself here and have surrounded myself with positivity and sobriety, I think to myself that I’m glad that I did what I did (obviously not the part when I have hurt others) but if I hadn’t of had these experiences, I wouldn’t be here today and I wouldn’t give this up for the world. One word of advice, if you want to stay sober there is only one thing you need to change… Everything.
Fresh starts. Thanks to the calendar, they happen every year – just set your watch to January. Our reward for surviving the holiday season is a new year, bringing on the great tradition of New Year’s resolutions. Put your past behind you and start over. It’s hard to resist the chance of a new beginning, a chance to put the problems of last year to bed. But who gets to determine when the old ends and the new begins? It’s not a day on a calendar, not a birthday, not a new year. It’s an event – big or small, something that changes us. Ideally it gives us hope, a new way of living and looking at the world. Letting go of old habits, old memories. But sometimes, when big changes happen our whole world is transformed and we feel hopeless. We realize the ground beneath us has shifted. Things are uncertain and there's no turning back. The world around us is different now. Unrecognizable, and there's nothing we can do about it. We feel stuck. The future's staring us in the face and we’re not sure we like what we see. It's one of those things people say. 'You can't move on until you let go of the past.' Letting go is the easy part, it's the moving on that's painful. So sometimes we fight it, trying to keep things the same. Things can't always stay the same though. At some point you just have to let it go. Move on. Because no matter how painful it is, it's the only way we grow. What’s important is that we never stop believing we can have a new beginning and that positive change is possible.
When we say things like ‘people don’t change’, it drives scientists crazy, because change is literally the only constant in all of science. Energy, matter – it’s always changing, morphing, merging, growing, dying. It’s the way people try not to change that’s unnatural; the way we cling to the way things were instead of letting them be what they are. The way we cling to old memories instead of forming new ones. The way we insist on believing, despite any scientific indication, that anything in this lifetime is permanent. Change is constant. How we experience change, that’s up to us. It can feel like death, or it can feel like a second chance at life. If I open my fingers, loosen my grip, go with it, it can feel like pure adrenaline. Like at any moment, I can have another chance at life. Like at any moment, I can be born all over again. Not just on January 1st or my birthday. On average, every cell in the human body regenerates every seven years. In our own way, we shed our skin like snakes. Biologically, we are brand new people. We may look the same – we probably do, because the change isn't visible – at least not in most of us. But we are all changed. Completely; forever. We don't like it; we fear it, but we can't stop change from coming. We either adapt to change, or we get left behind. It hurts to grow, anybody who tells you it doesn't is lying. But the truth is – sometimes the more things change, the more they stay the same. And sometimes, change is good. Sometimes, change is everything.