I’ve been sober for one year today (updated December 13, 2020). I didn’t think I’d ever be able to say that. It’s something I honestly had begun to believe was not possible for me. I’ve spent the last seven years trying to get sober, yet finding myself caught on a nonstop, nightmarish merry-go-round of relapse, rehab, and, if I was lucky, a couple months of sobriety outside of a locked treatment center. I had acquired all the knowledge I needed to stay sober, but was missing the most important piece of recovery: participating in a program where I continuously replace my long held beliefs for a new way of seeing my life and experiences. There have been many ups and downs, days more beautiful than I’ve perhaps ever had, and days I had previously thought would be too painful to experience with a sober mind. Through the grace of something that is beyond my human conception, along with more help from others than I could’ve ever asked for, I finally have been able to string together enough days to get to the place I’m at today.
Dogs Matter and the people who are involved there has been one of the sources of help that has meant so much to me and my recovery. If it weren’t for them, I honestly don’t know if I’d still be here. When I first got sober, I barely had the desire to live, and I certainly wasn’t motivated to do the work necessary to maintain sobriety. At least, not for myself. The only reason I had to keep going was my dog, Albie, and the people in my life who would be utterly devastated should I fail to get better. And I knew that not choosing recovery was the same as choosing death. Dogs Matter not only took amazing care of Albie while I was in treatment, they also believed in me and believed that I could recover, even though I really didn’t believe it myself. Being the dog mom that Albie deserves was enough motivation to get me through the first few months of recovery.
Since then, through doing the work of the 12 steps and connecting with the people in my life that are important to me, I’ve gained the desire to stay sober for myself. I now know and feel the need to stay sober no matter what happens in my life. That only came with time and work and love and experiencing God in my life. I’m now one of those people who can say, “If I can do this, anyone can.” I’m certainly not done, and I have a lot to learn; I have a lifetime ahead of me of learning and growing and loving and losing and suffering and experiencing true peace and joy.
I’m just so grateful to have been given this chance, and I am so blessed to be able to use my experience to help others who are struggling just like I used to struggle. Thank you, Dogs Matter. I’ll be sure to do whatever I can to help others just like y’all helped me.