I was 9 months clean and sober when I was first published in this X-Meth column in 2007. That means I recently came up on five years of continuous sobriety, which is a freakin’ miracle, considering I couldn’t lay off of the pnp for more than a day towards the end of my drinking and using.
They say your head pops out of your ass after five years. They tell you not to kill yourself in the first five years because you could be killing the wrong person---at five, you’re no longer a newcomer, and great things start to happen. They also say a five-year mark means you’ve been sober for so long that you can’t imagine drinking or using, but not long enough that you can’t imagine never drinking or using again—ever. That means your head can easily pop back in, what rubs off can also rub back on, you can’t keep clean in yesterday’s shower and so the work continues.
All I can say is that my life is so much better clean and sober—period. Every aspect of my existence has improved in sobriety. I’m in great shape. I’m emotionally present for the people I love. I’m able to show up for work and even though I can still be a little crazy, I also enjoy a serenity that I could never find at the bottom of a glass, or on the edge of a crusty straw—plain and simple.
I think back to the drama, the hangovers, the horrible crashing and burning and all the money I pissed away at bars—not to mention the danger I put myself in when scoring dope and—sobriety is so much better. The party had its place, but all that can add up to a miserable existence, which will eventually lead to prison, mental institution or untimely death—no doubt.
At five years, my obsession to drink and use has been lifted. I’m no longer a white-knuckling addict/alcoholic who can’t stop thinking about getting high---I’m not saying that I’m cured, for there is no finish line in recovery; however, today I’m not so consumed with what it was like. I find myself more invested in what it’s like now and moving forward.
What else can I say? I’m so damn grateful for every moment of my sobriety. Life happens, so it hasn’t always been easy; I’m no saint, so I haven’t done it perfectly, and I couldn’t do it on my own. Yet I’m here and I’m grateful to the universe, and a long list of people. I also want to thank this X-Meth column for giving me a platform to check in from time to time. Writing about my sobriety has helped me turn those nine months into five years. And it feels great---on that note, if you’re reading this and you’re tired of being tired, then sobriety can be good for you too. So make that first move.
Paulo Murillo writes a blog at hissfit.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @paulo_murillo or friend him on Facebook.