At 21 years old, I woke up on a dirty bathroom floor. I was so high on drugs and alcohol that I couldn’t even move. I didn’t have a job, I had just gotten out of rehab, and my family was blowing up my phone. While laying there, I had completely convinced myself that I was going to die. All I could do was lay there and wait. It seemed like hours and hours went by, but it was probably only minutes.
A few months prior, I had cheated on my girlfriend and then broken up with her because she asked me to stop drinking. Before that, I pushed my dad into a wall and terrified my entire family after they dumped out one of my bottles of vodka. I was completely lost.
I spent three months in rehab and relapsed five days after getting home. This is where the bathroom floor comes in. My sister had just learned of my relapse and was trying desperately to get ahold of me. But there I laid, oblivious to the people around me and their emotions.
At some point, I heard a school bus pull up outside of the house that I was in. I could hear all of the kids laughing while they climbed the steps up into the bus. It seemed like such a simple existence. Hearing this, I couldn’t help but think back to my own childhood and how innocent it was. Then a question popped into my head. How did I get here? I used to be one of those kids getting on the bus, but now I was laying on a dirty bathroom floor waiting to die.
I’ve had many experiences just like this throughout my recovery journey. Each one of them a place I never wanted to be again. It’s taken me multiple trips through rehab, several close calls with suicidal tendencies, and probably a dozen relapses just to admit that I can’t find lasting recovery doing it my way.
I tried for years to do it my way. I could scrape together six, sometimes eight months of sobriety but then always relapsed. At one point, I even put together 15 months, but as soon as life got difficult, I threw it away. I did not have a program to fall back on. Because of this, I always fell back on myself, and I was never strong enough to hold the weight of my trauma alone.
It went on like this for years and years until I’d finally had enough. The choice was to get sober or die. No more chances, this was it. This time I took everything seriously. I got a sponsor, started working the twelve steps, and got rid of all my reservations.
When life gets difficult now, I can lean back into my program, and it holds my weight. I try my best to live an honest and selfless life. I work hard at it every day, because I am a selfish person and my initial thinking is dishonest. My program now allows me to accept myself for who I am and strive to be better. I realize now that it’s okay to be honest about who I am and love myself for it.
I am finally in a place where I’m not just trying to survive, but rather living a life that I can be proud of. All I had to do to start was to get honest with myself. Because honestly, to drink is to die and everything else is a lie.
About the Author
Austin Reid is a Recovery Advocate at Wasatch Crest. He supports clients with their daily needs, while encouraging them to show up for themselves and do the little and big things that will support their recovery. Because so many people helped Austin along his own recovery journey, he felt like it was his turn to do the same for others, so he joined the recovery forces at Wasatch Crest.
Austin has worked primarily in customer service and hospitality roles. As a result of his service-oriented roles, Austin is adept at listening to people’s problems with an unbiased ear and finding a solution that works for all parties. Austin enjoys having serious conversations with clients about their recovery and watching them get excited about their futures. One of Austin’s favorite parts about working as a recovery advocate is having fun and laughing with the clients while they learn how to enjoy their lives in sobriety.
Austin is a professional military-style exhibition rifle driller. When he’s not practicing drill with his rifle, he likes to longboard, ride his moped, and write poetry. His favorite place is the Oregon Coast.