I had known that I was an alcoholic since I was 14 years old. I did everything alcoholically. As an aspiring artist, all of my heroes were either alcoholic or addicted to drugs.
I remember reading a Hunter S. Thompson book while in middle school and becoming mesmerized by his drug fueled journeys. I thought that it was part of the creative process to use substances to change how I thought and felt.
I would read tales of how my favorite musicians would write their monumental songs while drunk or high. I learned that artists like Vincent van Gogh would create his masterpieces while drinking absinthe. In my mind these were all the necessary components of creativity.
I not only admitted I was addicted to alcohol and drugs, I embraced it. After all, my heroes were known addicts. In my numbed state I actually believed that it made me a more creative person. That somewhere deep within that bottle, lie my creative muse.
So what I did not, or chose not to read about was the physical and mental anguish this caused on said heroes. Many of them died of an overdose, committed suicide or were locked away. It was not until my disease progressed, many years later, that I found myself on the doorstep of those dreadful results.
While in my addiction, the creative aspect was completely out of the picture. At this point, I did not need substances to be innovative, I needed them to function. I knew that I had to admit complete defeat, or go on to the bitter end and face the same fate as those who this world lost all too early from this disease.
A New Conception of Heroes
While in recovery I have developed a whole new perception of what a hero is to me. My heroes now are those who have faced addiction, and have dedicated themselves to working one day at a time to avoid going back to those dark days. My heroes are the old timers who can pass on the experience, strength and hope that was so freely given to them. My heroes are the newcomers who nervously open that 300 LB door of a treatment center or AA club to ask a complete stranger for help.
Through recovery I have gained a new vision of people outside the walls of treatment. I have had a complete psychic and spiritual shift. I am inspired when I see someone open a door for another person. I am energized when I see a man working endlessly to create a better life for his family. These are the things that personally make me want to do great things.
These new stars in my mind give me inspiration. They give me a new sense of freedom and creativity that I have never felt before. I no longer yearn for that numbed state and can now make calculated choices based on my own abilities and skill set. I now have more time to think about my creative process, rather than my thoughts being consumed by getting drunk or high.
Creativity can be defined as the ability to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities. With recovery, and my shift of who I choose to admire, I now know the possibilities are endless. I now strive to be like my newfound heroes…to keep doing the next right thing.