A shift in perception needed to happen, that kind of goes without saying.
Since my idea of self-medication was to intravenously inject cocaine/meth and take a bunch of xanax with alcohol.
That's an extreme example of how screwed up my thinking was. But also in how I viewed problems, situations, and life circumstances needed to shift.
The idea of going out with friends, partying, going out for drinks. I do all of those things now, in sobriety, but usually when I go out with friends, I’m not doing illegal activities… where NOT selling dope means going out to a party or a concert and I get to actually enjoy and remember the music/artist.
Going out for drinks usually means I go out for a topo chico or some other kind of fancy sparkling water. And yeah, I have a blast- I have fun, I’m social, interactive and fun, until I’m not anymore.. and thats usually the time I start to make my way home.
I’ve gone to bachelor parties, weddings, graduation parties.. and all of these things I still do, but my perception of what they mean to me has now shifted to a more sobering one.
Perception of problems and how I deal with them has shifted. When I first got sober, I had a pile of unpaid tickets, warrants, and probation in multiple counties with seven years of probation fees that seemed so overwhelming that I couldn’t imagine ever getting through it all.
My perception shifted to just doing the next right thing, and not try to delete it all out of my life at once.
I spoke to the authorities and explained my situation, and made out a reasonable payment plan.
I started to slowly chip away at this mountain of “problems” and during this I started to gain self esteem. I started to clean up the wreckage I caused. I realized that these authorities were after me because they needed to be.
I was a hazard on the road (I’ve never had a DWI but probably deserve hundreds). I was a danger to society. They were just doing their job to protect and serve civilians. Once I started to take responsibilities for my actions and started to make things right, I slowly started to become more comfortable in my skin.
My perception of “bad days” needed to shift, don’t get me wrong guys… I do have bad days. But often I get to think of my best day getting high doesn’t even compare to my worst day sober.
An attitude of gratitude keeps me on a positive path. Seeing problems as opportunities to grow and become a better person, instead of throwing my hands up and saying “fuck this I give up” (which used to be my go to for EVERY problem).
Learning to ask for help if I don’t know something (this happens often because I don’t know much). It’s a humbling experience, but also I get to connect to another human and usually learn something about them.
My perception of success shifted. I’m a college drop out but I have my dream job. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I need to remain open minded, teachable, and willing to learn about alternative paths to a problem instead of it being my way or the highway.
But all of this didn’t happen because I thought it into existence. It happened slowly, gradually, over time as I took action. Healthy actions caused healthy thinking, never the other way around.
The 12 step program I follow asked me to have a spiritual experience that would shift my thinking. Not to have a spiritual opinion/theory… I needed to have experiences to shift my thinking.
Because prior to getting sober, I could tell you what a healthy life can look like, and probably do it very eloquently and poetically. But still sit there high as a kite as I fed you this bull shit.
Us addicts, were not stupid or idiots. We know right from wrong, we know a healthy life, we can probably even sell it to you if it means we could get a fix out of it.
But I couldn’t manifest the very thing I was talking about until I asked for help, until I started to take actions, until I was willing to be held accountable, and until I started to walk the walk.
I think with making changes in your life in any area- I’ve learned it always just doing the next right thing.