I was born addicted to drugs. As a baby, I was adopted by a family in Sandy, UT, where I grew up. Throughout my life, I struggled with drugs and alcohol and was in and out of treatment centers. The first times that I attended treatment, I thought that they were going to do everything for me. The therapists would fix me, I would be sober, and my life would be great. Obviously, that’s not how treatment works, so I continued to use.
One of my best friends who I had partied with ended up getting sober. He encouraged me to work the twelve steps and helped get me into treatment. At that time, I was looking for a way out. I was tired of being miserable. I had also begun to see people that I’d been close to die from addiction. Consequently, the issue of addiction hit closer to home, and the seriousness of the disease struck me. Additionally, I was beginning to understand that staying sober would take a lot of work on my end. I would have to be willing to take action towards my recovery and accept responsibility for my actions.
During my last time in treatment, I stopped seeing myself as a victim. I realized that a “poor me” attitude was never going to actually help me. I accepted that I was in treatment because of my mistakes. I stopped blaming other people. At the same time, I adopted a higher power and committed to staying sober.
After completing treatment, I continued to place my faith in a higher power. I also got a sponsor, worked the steps, and started being of service whenever I could. In the two years that I’ve been sober, the thing that continues to resonate is that victims don’t stay sober. After completing my last stay in treatment, I didn’t have anything. No one enabled me. I had to work for everything I have.
I stayed busy in early recovery—not just by going to work—but I attended meetings, events, and performed service work. I also started to participate in hobbies that I used to do when I was young. I began golfing, playing sober softball, and joined a competitive softball team. I started to live again.
Connection with people helped keep me sober. Instead of only forging relationships with people that I attended treatment with, I connected with people who had more time in sobriety than me. When I was struggling, instead of viewing it as a weakness, I would reach out to my support network. Because they had more time in sobriety than me, they were able to counsel me through struggles that they’d already overcome.
To maintain my recovery today, I focus on staying healthy spiritually, mentally, and physically. I didn’t take care of myself when I was using, so I’m giving back to myself now. Today, I have a career, vehicle, and home. I just got married. I have good relationships with my family. I could even get a loan right now if I wanted to. Ultimately, I’m pretty satisfied with who I am as a person.
About the Author
Joe Hardy is a Business Development Representative at Wasatch Crest. He draws on his extensive network of individuals in the recovery community to help people find a treatment experience that works for them. Joe is passionate about sharing his own experiences and helping others achieve lasting sobriety. He has worked in sales and marketing. Joe loves golfing, working out, and playing softball. He grew up in Sandy, UT.