I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing on December 31, 2000. I was in a motel suite in Beachwood, Ohio overlooking I-271. It was one of those rooms with a full kitchen. I used the plates from the kitchen cabinets to cut and line up drugs on. I certainly didn’t prepare or eat any meals to my recollection. I had a nice size amount of heroin and crack. I spent that afternoon and evening gazing out a large window facing the highway while alternating from a hit off the stem to a line from the plate. I thought I had enough dope to help me forget about being alone on New Years Eve, New Years Day (and ultimately, many years to follow) without my wife and family. I was wrong about having enough dope to forget. There was never enough to forget what I had put myself and loved ones through. I sat at that window peering through a light flurry of snow at the traffic below. I was trying to reach oblivion. My New Year resolution was to finally stop drinking and using drugs at midnight in 2001 of the new year. I recall my urgency to finish everything I had by the time the hands of my watch were straight up 12. I did not know, at that moment, that I wouldn’t draw a sober or clean breath for the next four months. My sober/clean date is April 20, 2001. The next four months leading to my eventual sobriety were a living hell. Twenty years ago on New Years Eve I was the poster boy for the walking dead and I NEVER want to forget it! I do not regret any of the emotional and physical pain which brought me to the point of surrender. Every bit of the pain and agony was of purpose and required for this new way of life. There’s a saying in this process that speaks to this: “My worst day sober/clean is better than my best day in active addiction”. This is true for me. So, I won’t keep coming back - I’ll just stay here in recovery!
I’m not much on making yearly resolutions. I prefer to work daily on issues that need to be addressed and resolved within me and my relationships with others. Every day can be the beginning of a new year for me. In other words, I need to work on being honest, tolerant, loving and kind daily not yearly. Sixty minutes makes an hour, twenty four hours make a day and 365 days add up to a year. If this is a one day at a time program then all I have to do is rectify my actions just for today as opposed to trying to commit to something for a whole year! Every day is an opportunity to work on self. In the past, I would usually wind up playing badminton with my thoughts within the first few days of my resolution for the new year. Rationalization kept the shuttlecock of my determination and conviction in mid flight long enough to adopt the thought, “Well, I can always try again next year”.
I’m hearing a few early birds squeezing off shots in my neck of the woods. That probably means I should move away from the windows and seek lower ground. I wish everyone a most prosperous and joyful New Year. I’m truly thankful and grateful for every friendship and opportunity provided in 2019. Let’s walk together into 2020 with the perfect vision of new friends and positive opportunities ahead. Also knowing that we can make ourselves and this world better - One Day at a Time. Happy New Year! ❤️🙏🏽❤️