How often do we hear So, what do you do in a social setting? A seemingly harmless question, often used as a social ice breaker, but that holds so much weight in how we are defined, both personally and socially. I used to struggle with this question, because If you asked me 6 years ago, my answer would be different every time. At every important transition in life, up until I got sober, I was motivated by relief from my addiction with no goals and no sense of ultimate purpose. I had no clear direction, no clear purpose, and of course no real job. I was always envious of my peers who had predetermined what they wanted to study and ultimately, who they wanted to be.
Growing up in Memorial (Houston, TX), I cared a lot about how you defined me, and everything I did was for the benefit (or so I thought) of others – I was constantly putting on a show. I had to play the part in order to garner your respect. The part I played was largely determined by who I thought you wanted to be, which means I had to constantly adapt to your expectations and standards that made me worthy of your respect. I could never just be me because I believed that just being me was never going to be good enough for you.
Enter drugs and alcohol.
My chemical solution took away my greatest fear of disappointing you, allowing me to just be me. With every drink or drug, I could feel the layers of self-consciousness fall away. Drugs and alcohol were my solution, and for a while, an effective one. But, then as my addiction progressed, I had to use an increasing amount to quiet my fear. Until eventually it didn’t matter how much I drank or how many pills I swallowed, I was overwhelmed with that old, familiar feeling of never being good enough… for you. If you’re like me, you know exactly what this feels like – hopeless. You finally realize that the one solution to all your problems becomes your problem.
If you told me God was going to be my solution 6 years ago, I would have laughed. The only reason I gave God a chance 5 years ago was because I had tried everything else. Nothing else seemed to work, so this idea of God was worth giving a try. I discovered God through my sponsor and following his guidance through the simple 12-step process. The further along the steps I went, the closer I felt to God; The closer I felt to God, the less I cared about what you thought; The less I cared about what you thought, the more I was able to just be me. Knowing exactly who I am and embracing the man I am becoming in sobriety has made life simple and a lot more enjoyable. My purpose is no longer winning your respect or admiration, but simply to share my experience, strength and hope to the next guy who is cornered by his disease and can not find a way out.
These days, I am defined by my service to you, rather than how you judge my worth based on my career or the amount of money I make. Thus, when asked what do you do today, I can answer honestly and without fear of judgment, because what I do as a career does not define who I am; what I do as a man of faith and in sobriety, is how I define myself today.
Regional Marketer (The Last Resort)