I can recall a time in my life where I wanted to end it all. Nothing I had tried up to that point to get sober had worked. Drugs and alcohol had brought me to contemplating suicide, something I’d always looked at as an escape for the weak. These substances had gotten me to a point where I wanted to die, but couldn’t manage to end it because I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to get drunk or high in the afterlife. Life had no meaning and I was utterly broken. What was once a young man with a promising career in chemistry or baseball ahead of him was now a homeless, emaciated, suicidal, train wreck destroying everything that I ever loved or cared about. This may sound awful, and it truly was, but I stand here 15 months later extremely grateful for all of that pain. I had to get to the gates of insanity and death in order to find life.
The single greatest accomplishment of my life is, and will always be, getting sober. Recovery didn’t teach me how to stop using drugs, what recovery has taught me is how to live a happy life without drugs or alcohol. That’s all I ever really wanted, deep down. I’d always sought it out in the wrong way, using external sources to bring inner happiness. The only problem with this was that external happiness runs out at some point and ceases to work. What recovery has taught me is how to be content with myself on the inside, regardless of the outside world, and it never runs out as long as I stay connected to my recovery and continue to help others. This happiness is something I could only dream about while I was out there doing whatever it took to get high, but today I don’t have to dream because that happiness is my reality.
The changes that have occurred in my life as a direct result of my recovery and doing the right thing are astounding. One of the greatest feelings I have ever experienced was when my mom gave me a key to her house and told me that she was proud of me. It which is something I know she has said before, but I was never really listening. Finally I was awake to the world and a spark in me had been lit. I have a host of friends, true friends, who I can count on to be there when I need them and not because they will get something out of it! They genuinely want me to be happy and they care about my well-being. Currently, by just putting one foot in front of the other and taking some suggestion, I have the greatest job anyone in my shoes could want. I get the opportunity and the privilege to work with other alcoholics and addicts every day. I get to see people come into The Last Resort exactly like I was when I came in, shattered and demoralized. To see them recover and to see them leave changed men has brought tears to my eyes on multiple occasions. It gives me a lot of hope and reinforces that we can recover from the seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. The transformation that occurs in the brief period of time they are residents is indeed a miracle. How lucky I am to that I get to witness these miracles on a daily basis! I am extremely grateful for every resident that walks into The Last Resort because weather they realize it or not, they are saving my life.
If I wanted to summarize the experience that I have had in recovery, I couldn’t. I can only scratch the surface of what has happened and wouldn’t do the true miracle the justice it deserves. I don’t know exactly what has happened, but whatever it is, it’s working in my life today and amazing things are coming as a result. Grateful is an understatement. Today I am blessed with happiness, and all it took was surrendering and taking some suggestion. I came into recovery because I wanted to die, and I stay in recovery because I want to live.
– Mark Rector