Today on May 8th 2020 by the grace of God I celebrate five years clean and sober. So much has changed in my life over the past five years. As I reflect back I see a lot of growth but, I also see a lot of areas and defects that are still in need of work. Looking back five years ago I was pretty content and fairly satisfied living a double life and maintaining my life as an active Crystal methamphetamine user on a daily basis.
I had a very selfish State of Mind. I was not willing to change anything about myself. mainly because I had come to terms with the fact that I needed this substance to maintain, to cope and to keep myself balanced mentally and physically. As I reflect further I can also see that there was a spiritual void in my life as well and I had accepted that I was one of the lost souls, that God could not help me, actually God would not help me... read more...
I asked God for help many times. I’ve been to many rehabs and made many, many, many declarations and commitments to never use again. I remember specifically in 2008 when my daughter was born I thought that was the end I was finished. I was never going to use again; that only lasted about two months after she was born until I returned back to active addiction. I always seemed to rationalize and say to myself...I’m just not going to be so careless next time, but that just never worked.
In May 2015 I remember getting arrested. I was charged with domestic battery for an incident that involved my children and their mother. I wanted to control them to the point where they would all act and behave the way I thought they should. I lived in my addiction for 22 years as a lifestyle that I created in a very selfish self-seeking State of Mind. Today looking back I can see now that the way I was living was very destructive to myself and even more so to my family. I didn't see that at the time in my addiction. I figured if I just kept myself isolated and away from them that I was not doing them any harm.
I remember 5 years ago standing before the Court and they offered me another program. This would be my sixth treatment program and I respectfully said to the judge, your Honor, I decline the offer and suggestion to volunteer myself into a treatment program. This was the Combat veterans treatment Court where I stood and I was very stubborn and selfish because all I wanted to do was get back to my addiction… to get back to my dope.
I ended up sitting in that Orange county psych ward in custody trying to decide how to get out of this one more time. Finally, I gave in and after listening to the other veterans as they accepted treatment. Even though I still thought inside to myself with reservation this is not for me. I thought to myself I'm here for the domestic violence case I'm not a drug addict. Then one of the deputies at the court looked at me and told me I needed to think about the big picture and that made me begin to think and reflect on how others might care about me and maybe I really could be a better person.
See ever since I got out of the military, it's been quite a struggle, quite a challenge fitting into society. I never felt like I was a part of. No matter how much I tried to be successful I still had a feeling of uselessness. When I was sent to my last rehab I actually started to think about the big picture which reminded me of back in 2008 when my daughter was born. I remembered how I had sworn at that time that I was going to stop using drugs. I swore, I was going to stop but I did not. We continued to move around from place to place City to City. All of this prompted me to do this reflection and then I finally attended groups in rehab and I attended family counseling.
I also attended psychiatry and other Mental health programs, And I also finally acquired a sponsor in a recovery program. I completed the 12 steps and all of this allowed me to clear my mind and start to focus on the big picture. I believe it was God who had finally reached me because I was able to get out of the way.
It's time to get honest, I said to myself. It's time to exercise a willingness to change. It's time to lay aside everything I think I know and become open minded. It was time to realize that the “Jackson way” just wasn't working anymore. That meant that it was time to create a new lifestyle and I learned to accept my responsibility and my role for the events that had occurred. The group showed me that I had several incidents that led to moments harming myself and others. I am now aware that I cannot and do not need to control people.
Today I continue to practice living a life in sobriety. I continue to improve my conscious contact with God as he gives me guidance and strength daily. At six AM every day I read my daily reflections, and my 24 hours A day, my third step prayer, my seventh step prayer and attend recovery meetings via conference calls. I make this a part of my daily routine. I am of service by sponsoring other men in the program whenever possible.
This is a brand new lifestyle for me. Some days are fun, some days are not so fun. I have learned to go help someone and be of service wherever possible. I'm learning in this program that whenever those days of depression, disappointment or discouragement do enter my mind that it's typically a day where I'm stuck on myself.
The fact remains I will never be able to please myself entirely, however being of service feeds my soul and I believe it is God's will for me to continue to carry a message of hope because it is only by the grace of God that I have my sobriety today. I am a present father to my daughter and I continue to learn and grow.
As the founder of Stay Stopped United the official recovery apparel brand I give all honor and glory to God. I believe this brand is growing and reaching others to bring encouragement and unity throughout communities all over the nation. Without my sobriety none of this would be possible. This is a miracle, I am a miracle.
Today I trust God that he will provide all that I need. Today I clean house and am constantly checking my own personal behavior and attitude inventory and I continue to help others wherever possible. Today is a good day.