The vast majority of the 10 years before I got sober was riddled with failure and despair. The thought of a “victory” was foreign in the life I lived. Misery, depression, loneliness, and emptiness are what my life consisted of. I began to accept that this was my destiny. I remember playing football and baseball as a kid and how victories were not only prevalent, but I had a constant feeling of accomplishment throughout my day-to-day life. Unfortunately, those victories would leave me and that feeling I got would slowly disappear.
When I first started getting sober this time around, “victories” were ingrained into my brain the second I walked in to Tree House Recovery. Obviously, being overwhelmed with depression, I didn’t put too much thought into that word and I initially dismissed it. Little did I know that the feeling of recognizing, appreciating, and honoring victories would be a huge part of my recovery and my overall happiness. Through daily reflections, I was able to see that all my victories had been right in front of me this whole time but I never honored them. I was making connections with others, stepping out of my comfort zone, processing my past, taking care of myself mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually and I slowly began to love myself again.
Through my daily schedule at Tree House Recovery, it was impossible to not see the victories that were piling up. I was working out daily and seeing mind and body changes, I was talking about things that I have never even thought about processing, and I even ran a Spartan race. Physical activity in my long stint of active addiction was non-existent. When I found out I would be running a Spartan race, an initial feeling of fear came over me mixed with a touch of excitement. I will never forget the feeling I got when I crossed the finish line with the men that I created these strong connections with in treatment, it was like we were in our own platoon. The whole process of treatment was like being in a battle with my past and this event was another major turning point in my internal war. After ten years of fighting I was finally winning. The only word I can describe was a feeling of euphoria. It was the ultimate victory for me at that time – a feeling of pride and accomplishment I had never felt in my life. Instead of chasing a high off drugs, I wanted to chase this feeling of pride, and that’s exactly what I did. Soon after treatment I signed up for a triathlon and I did that by myself. Again, this overwhelming euphoric feeling took over. I was finally living my life for me.
If you ever find yourself feeling down or empty, look for victories. Believe it or not, you accomplish victories throughout your everyday life. Sometimes it’s holding the door open for someone, smiling at someone, brushing your teeth, or simply using positive self-talk. Never underestimate your power to change someone’s day with a simple smile, and never dismiss that as normal human behavior, own that victory and strive for greatness. Life is too short to be run by fear and mediocrity. Go out and take charge of your life.