I sometimes reminisce on the days when I was getting loaded. I would observe pedestrians passing by living daily lives, and doing normal things. I would always think to myself, “how can anybody live a normal life without thinking about getting loaded.” From the day I found heroin, until the end, I lived every minute of my life chasing the next high, because the last high was never enough. A demon called Heroin had consumed my life.

I would always pray for a way out, and lost faith very quickly. I would always pray for my Higher Power to give me things I didn’t deserve. Today, my Higher Power still has not given me anything but opportunity. I never understood why my Higher Power would put me in these situations. I understand now, I put myself in these places, and my Higher Power always gave me an opportunity to escape. I always chose heroin. Today, when I wake up in the morning and hit my knees, I thank my Higher Power for showing me a way out.

The most important aspect of my recovery was truly acknowledging that it had completely consumed my life. I had no choice but to change or end up in jail, or worse, dead. This was a very realistic, and very probable outcome to the way I was living. I always assumed if I had a job, or more money, or a place to live everything would be better. I was never willing to admit I was a junkie. The reality was I was willing to burn anybody in my path to get the high that I wanted. Needless to say, my life was extremely unmanageable.

I came to terms with reality, and began to understand it wasn’t even about heroin. The truth was it had been me the entire time. My thinking and attitude were the problem. This was very surprising to me because it made so much sense. I devoted myself to understanding more about why I would act the ways I did with absolutely no regard to others feelings. I knew if I didn’t get a better understanding of my behaviors, I would never be able to fully let go of my obsession to get loaded.

I began understanding so much more about myself. Feelings were coming out that had been dormant for so long and I didn’t understand how to address them at first. To be aware of them was enough for me though, because I knew I could understand more about why I feel and act certain ways. The more these emotions came about, the more I was able to address them.

I was introduced to A.A. and the twelve step program. At first I did not understand but after getting a sponsor and becoming willing and open-minded I slowly began to understand the concept of the twelve steps and how they could lead me to a life free from active addiction. I give my sponsor a lot of credit for broadening my view of my life.

Eventually I got to my fourth step in the twelve step program. This step is designed to free you from your past through recognition of your shortcomings. It was time for me to take a good look at my life. Until this point, I focused all my attention on trying to change my behaviors in the present moment, but was completely unaware of the factors in my life that lead to me acting out in certain ways. As my story began to unfold, I began to recognize different patterns of traumatic events and beliefs that led me to lose hope and not reach out for help.

I began to recognize irrational beliefs and where they came from. I realized I suffered from a disease of the mind and was never aware. I was living in the past. My whole perception was based on a false reality I had created inside, I just needed to open my mind.

Through this program I was introduced to the spiritual principles, which gave me a solution to my negative thinking. These include, but are not limited to, humility, honesty, willingness, service, and unity. It became much easier for me to understand my irrational behaviors, which made applying change to them so much easier. I began taking my negative thoughts and applying spiritual principles to them, and right before my eyes the outcome of every situation was so much different. With that, my entire outlook on life had changed.

I was made aware of the solution and began to realize that a lot of my feelings were based on things that happened in the past. With the ability to let this go, I began to recognize another form of anxiety creeping in. I worried about what the future might hold. This is a feeling I didn’t have much experience with considering I always obsessed about what I could have done differently to avoid consequences, but it became something that I had to confront. I began trying to understand more about the nature of my worries. I made a mental list of my goals and expectations. This list included possible outcomes and helped me determine which were realistic and which were not.

I came to a realization as I made this list; that there is not anything holding me back from success if I dedicate myself. This is when I fully came to understand what I have to do to let go of my worry about the future. My solution was to focus on what I am doing here and now to achieve my goals. I no longer worry about the future because I know I am applying myself to the best of my abilities.

Today, the obsession has been lifted. I have become free from active addiction and no longer have the desire to use, nor do I have a fear of relapse. I can say this with full confidence because I do not focus on the things I do not want in my life, but rather on my goals. I apply these different concepts to my life on a daily basis, and have begun to see life in a whole new light. I have recognized my change of perception as a spiritual awakening, and this will continue to push me to learn more and achieve more.

After learning these different ideas and solutions, I adapted a new passion. I never thought I would be a person who could use my story and experience to help somebody in a similar position. I understand now that when I am helping suffering addicts, or even just regular people, I am also helping myself.

I can see now that when I apply a different way of thinking into my life, staying fully aware of my present moment and how I am acting, I am building on vital things I have never had in my life. My relationships are stronger. For the first time in my life people trust me and I am unafraid to be who I truly am. I no longer live in fear or regret. Today I live with faith, gratitude, and find ways I can be of service no matter the situation.

I enjoy doing things I would have never dreamed of in my addiction. I found new passions and capabilities. I have found new devotion and enthusiasm. These new aspects of my life would be nothing if not for finding strength in my recovery and a Higher Power. I find myself looking at the world today and wondering why I ever lost touch with reality.

I now have a support system full of people I can trust completely. This is something I thought was not possible. I have people who are willing to do anything for me as long as I continue to do the right thing. I have people I can call true friends. I enjoy myself in unity and fellowship, and avoid isolation and insulation.

Although I may have found this new freedom, life still has a tendency to throw obstacles at me unexpectedly. The only way to truly succeed in recovery, and in life is to be resilient. To remain optimistic is to remain humble, and see problems as challenges. I now have the ability to control my reactions, and that gives me peace of mind. To have full serenity and actually succeed, I give credit to my Higher Power. Without him I have nothing.

Today, I wake up and thank my Higher Power for another day. I make an inventory of yesterday, than focus my attention on each moment of my day to better myself. I am aware of who I am, and also not afraid to show my true colors. I no longer make assumptions but find truth. I no longer hold unrealistic expectations, and only expect to get what I put in.

I understand that if I want to keep the things I have in my life I have to continue to be accepting, and I have to remain grateful. I will never forget where I came from, nor will I go back. We all have a bottom in our lives, and we can use this as inspiration and determination to continue putting our Higher Power’s will before our own. Also, to help struggling addicts and let people know there is hope.

I have walked a hopeless path, put myself before others, and in the end I was lonely and desperate. Hope and determination pushed me to strive above and beyond everyday, and the blessings are endless. I am no better than anyone else, and I have full faith anybody has the capacity to achieve success. But you have to put the work in, and stay vigilant.

My end goal was to never have to go back to where I was when I finally exhausted my own will, and came to realize I could not do this alone. Due to the application of the principles I have learned in A.A., and my determination to live a healthy life abstinent from heroin. I am now interning for the same treatment center that gave me a chance to begin my recovery. I have more in my life today than I ever have, and I have no regrets. The traumatic experiences and bad decisions of my life give me a passionate desire to pass on the most important aspect of my recovery, hope.