I can’t believe it’s been over 6 years since I claimed my freedom from heroin addiction.
Right before I made that decision, I couldn’t go 6 hours without snorting heroin, or even imagine 6 days without it – let alone the thought of actually getting clean and not touching it for 6 years.
Yet here we are.
So I thought I’d share a few things about what I’ve learned after 6 years sober.
Recovery Is Hard Work For Addicts
It definitely took a lot of hard work to stick it out and not go back.
Not the hard labor kind of work, but the emotional and mental kind, that really makes you look at yourself clearly.
All of those demons and traumas that were buried under the drugs were still there beneath the surface and trust me, they were all ready to show their faces in HD quality.
Dealing With Anxiety In Recovery
Some of my childhood traumas were brought back up and I started having panic attacks again in random situations.
Nothing screams fun like riding in the backseat of a sportscar and making the driver pull over to let you out before you climb over the passenger and open the door at 50 miles per hour.
I was happy to walk the 3 miles back home that day. There was no way I was getting back in that car, even if it was 300 miles away.
Anxiety shows up at the most opportune times.
Facing Shame After Getting Clean
I also had to face my shame after getting clean.
I’ve always portrayed myself as a loving, giving, considerate person, but then shame shows up and reminds me of all of the many reasons I AM NOT those things.
Instead, shame tells me what a selfish, narcissist I really am and replays every single time I’ve hurt the people I love, over and over, like Groundhog Day on steroids.
Even to this day I have trouble with shame, and some nights we fight over who gets the right side of the bed.
One day at a time, they say.
Relationships Change After A Drug Addiction
Relationships on every level have changed.
Some have been severed for the better, some for the worse.
Finding out about my addiction changed the relationship with my children, each one differently, and we are all still working through it. They are my support system, as adults, I’m now able to be open and honest, where I felt I wasn’t able to be when they were younger.
Honesty has no age-limit, I learned.
My mom and I have become closer and I’ve forgiven my father.
I’ve distanced myself from friends I love but are still in addiction and I’ve lost friends who’ve died because of their addiction.
Now I have a few new friends that are sober.
For the most part, I hang out with my dog, Romeo.
Reclaiming My Life After Addiction
Within two years before I got sober, I managed to lose my house, two cars, a motorcycle, run up credit card debt, overdraw a few bank accounts, sell practically everything I owned, and pretty much had NOTHING.
Except, I still had my life. Thank God for that.
With that, I had a starting point.
Now, almost six years later, I have a home again, my license back and a car. I started this blog, but I also have a blog coaching and web design business that I never would have started if I wouldn’t have gotten clean.
Conclusion – What I’ve Learned After 6 Years Sober
My life is different. It’s not exciting. In fact, on most days to most people, it’s probably pretty boring. But I love my life. I’m grateful for it and I look forward to every day and every new opportunity.
Do I think about heroin and getting high? Very rarely. When the thought crosses my mind, I remember, I’m alive. If I use again, I will lose everything, I will die. Period.
So I’ll just keep doing the one day at a time, easy does it, kinda thing. It seems to be working, at least it’s got me this far.