Ku Okoa Ana: Seven Years Sober
SEVEN years…. wow.
You know, I never really sought out recovery. I didn’t know I was capable of a life like this. The only thing I knew for sure was that I wasn’t capable of living like THAT anymore. Either something had to give, or I had to die. I just always assumed it’d have to be the latter.
I had been depressed for so long, I used to kid that my first words were, “I wish I was dead.” I also told people the most ironic job I could ever have was motivational speaker. Today, it has been seven years since my recovery began. Today, I can’t even remember what it was like to live like that. The only times I get glimpses are when I meet someone first starting their recovery journeys. And today, I have been a motivational speaker. I’ve spoken in meetings, and gone back to my treatment center and spoken there. That could be a legitimate career path for me.
I would say I stumbled into this life, but the truth is it was chosen for me, and I was led into it. I’m so grateful that, at a point when I was so blind, I was still able to follow God down the path to what I had been meant for all along. My heart breaks for those who never answer the invitation. It wasn’t easy, but it was simple. I’ve been given directions, and I’ve followed them. Not perfectly or right away, but nonetheless, I’ve followed them. Those I’ve accepted guidance from have yet to steer me wrong.
My story now is one of endless gratitude, forgiveness, and compassion, not only for others, but for myself. I am able to see how our choices and actions have a history behind them. They aren’t random or meaningless, they tell our story. How people love me or hate me; embrace me or reject me; speak to me or silence me; says so much more about them than it does me. I don’t always make the right choice, but I am far more swift to clear up the wreckage, if ever I leave any in my wake.
Spiritual growth is never painless, but my God is it mighty, mighty rewarding. Some days, I revel from my view from here, wishing others could see it. Most never will. Most people go to their graves harboring bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness. There are things they never said, or things they wish they hadn’t, and they die with that hidden in their hearts. There’s a list of things they always wanted to do, but never did. I don’t have to hold on to any of that anymore. I am perfecting the art of letting things come and letting things go, riding waves, and conquering my bucket list. I am free.
At the end of July 2011, I got a glimpse into hell. I died and was reborn. I was caught in a tug of war between satan and God, and I witnessed it all unfold. I was unconscious, but the moment I came back to myself August 1, 2011, I realized a great truth about our existence. When I woke, I wrote these words, “Dearest father, from the depths of my soul, I yearn to know that those days have ended; that each gift you so graciously present me with from here on out will be welcomed with an unmatched gratitude.” I ended it with, “Allow me to use the gifts you have granted me to share your endless love, hope, and acceptance to all in this dark world who feel forgotten and forsaken.” I gave my very story away to be written by a different author. And this is the story he has written since.