Back in September of 2008, I sat in a family therapy session at Brighton Recovery Center with my son and my wife. My son was 18 at the time and in treatment for heroin addiction.
During that family session the therapist looked at me and strung together a 10-word sentence that would end up being some of the greatest advice anyone has ever given me. Advice that would change my life forever:
"Be the change you want to see in your son."
Her message? Don't tell your son not to self-medicate if you yourself are self-medicating with wine or beer or bourbon to take the edge off after a long day of work. Or when you're feeling stressed. Or just for "fun" on weekends. Or at parties. Etc.
Her words hit me like a ton of bricks. I would do anything to help my son in his recovery and quitting drinking seemed like a very small sacrifice in the grand scheme of things.
Fast forward 1,826 days: Today I celebrate five years of sobriety.
Being sober has made me a better person. I am more in touch with reality. I've lost a lot of weight and am healthier. I've saved money. I'm happier. I feel much more positive than I ever have before. And--best of all--I've set an example not only for my older son, but for my younger son as well.
I thank that therapist at Brighton for changing my life. Sobriety is only as dull as you make it, people. Not drinking doesn't mean not living. In fact, life without alcohol is...
"We begin to find and become ourselves when we notice how we are already found, already truly, entirely, wildly, messily, marvelously who we were born to be." --Anne Lamott