Day 152

By Aaron Emerson

I just hit the five month mark two days ago. Five months. Five months without a sip of beer, a pill or shot, even a puff of weed smoke. In the grand scheme of life, five months is nothing, but for me, it’s a damn miracle.

Just about a year ago I was at a point in my life where I just wanted to die. I didn’t want to commit suicide but I also wasn’t scared of dying from an overdose or getting killed in a botched drug deal or something. Man, oh man, it seems like a different life than how I’m living today.

On Sunday, I was hit with an Aaron Emerson recovery trifecta. I celebrated five months, my beloved Lions beat the Packers, and I got a raise at work. Yes, a fucking raise.

I’m 27 years old and have never gotten a raise at work. Truth be told, I haven’t ever truly held a job for more than a few months without my boss noticing signs that something was off. But today, my place of employment actually values me. Isn’t that crazy?

I don’t say all that to brag or to boast, saying “look at me! Look at how good I am doing!” I say it to perhaps spark a glimmer of hope within somebody else who happens to be walking the same path that I was just last year.

See, I got off heroin a few years ago and stayed off of it for over a year. My life improved vastly and I started this process of using my writings to spread hope and raise awareness. But I wasn’t truly getting down to the root causes of my alcoholism and addiction. I would go to a meeting once or twice a week and did some therapy, but that’s about it. I had a recovery coach, Phil Pavona, who did his part in saving my life and helped show me that recovery could be fun. But at that point in my life, I considered myself more of a drug addict than an alcoholic.

That was my downfall. Granted, I wasn’t drinking during that year of abstinence. But I eventually had a beer at a wedding, giving into peer pressure and rationalizing in my head “well, it’s just a beer. It’s not heroin.” ┬áThat beer ended up taking me down a road that almost led to death again.

I had to admit and accept that I can not control the use of any mind or mood altering chemicals. When I put alcohol or drugs into my body, something changes in my brain. I lose all control and don’t stop until I am faced with severe consequences. It was hard, but today I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I have people in my life guiding me, showing me how they did it and teaching me how powerful prayer is.

Just know that this is a lifetime thing. I will never be cured or be able to drink or drug in moderation. But I have fun today, I am grateful today, I have real friends today, and I am proud of myself today.

One thing I have always put in my blogs is that if you are alive, hope is alive. It is so fucking true! Don’t ever give up. No matter how hard things may seem, there are people out there who care about you. Surround yourself with people who love you. Take life one day at a time. Reach out when shit gets hard. You can do this and have a happy life. I promise.

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Day 60

By Aaron Emerson

It’s my 60th day sober and I am feeling great. I went to an AA meeting this morning at a local alano club and got my 2 month coin. I’ve picked up a few 2 month chips over the last several years, but this feels different.

It’s hard to explain, but I feel a much more spiritual sense to my attitude. I’ve really been awakened to the fact that life is so short, and if I don’t find lasting recovery this time, it might not ever happen. Earlier this year I lost one of my best friends to an overdose and my daughter is seven and a half years old. On top of that, I’ve been thinking a lot more about wanting to enjoy time with my parents and the people closest to me.

When you are in active addiction, all you are doing is making people close to you worry and stress, risking your life everyday. Nobody deserves that, and let’s face it, my parents aren’t gonna be around forever. I don’t want to waste any more time, and that attitude is really helping me slow things down and think about what’s truly important in life.

I’m not looking at my recovery as something I HAVE to do anymore, I’m starting to come to a place where I WANT to do it. I want to be sober, I don’t want to have to be high or drunk to enjoy life. Having to be outside of yourself to enjoy things is sad. There are so many fun things to do in this world sober, and those times are what create memories, not going out to a bar acting like an idiot or nodding out throughout the day.

Life is so precious, such a blessing, and we are not on this earth long at all. It’s so important to make the most of each day, enjoying every moment. I want to make a difference in my lifetime. I want to help people, to use my story to make an impact. I’d love to start an organization someday to help youth, a drug prevention or education type thing. Right now I am simply focusing on myself and working on my recovery, but I have been praying for God to lead me in the right direction.

Perhaps the most important thing I’m doing right now is participating in therapy at PAR Rehab. My therapist is amazing and she’s walking me through the process of healing from PTSD. It’s something I have rarely talked about, but one of the reasons I kept relapsing was because I wasn’t dealing with it. It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it’s worth it.

The bottom line, though, is that I am where I am. I can’t change anything that’s in the past, all I can do is make the most of where I am right now. And I love where I am right now. I don’t know if I would take anything back because everything that’s happened to me has molded me into the person I am today. Today I am okay with myself. I’m in recovery and have a future. God is working in my life!

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