Six Six Six years of sobriety. Now imagine hearing that in the voice of the Count from Sesame Street. Trying to have a little fun with it. Anyways, it could be six of one and half dozen of another but any way you look at it, it is still six years. It is a milestone for me, one I should celebrate, I have made it through life another year clean and sober. I am happy that I am living a sober life but I want this to matter, not for me but for others. Having six years is an awesome feeling, I love it, I have to be honest. But, I have that feeling for reasons that extend past overcoming the struggles of addiction and alcoholism. It goes beyond recovery for me. It’s life, I have found what being alive is all about.
On March 21st, 2014, I entered a rehab facility in Cushing, OK named Valley Hope. I was homeless and what I carried in my suitcase was all I had. It was my first day without alcohol in quite a long while and I was so unsure of what to expect. There was so much unknown, just like right now with all this Covid-19 virus situation we are dealing with. I had no idea of how to do one day sober and had zero hope of every getting to six years. But here I am, full of hope, full of gratitude, and full of purpose. I take time to look around at how far I have come which only opens my eyes to how much further I can go. That is a gift God has laid upon me through living life sober.
Addicts and alcoholics don’t corner the market on struggle.
I could try and tell a story of the struggles and all the adversity we overcome in recovery, but I won’t. In all honesty, us addicts and alcoholics don’t corner the market on struggle. I could tell you all about how hard it has been or how life has been unfair, but I’m not. Because no matter who you are life is not easy and life is never fair. But what I do want to share with you is that for all of us, whether we are in recovery or not, there is life on the other side of that adversity. There is a life we could never imagine or think of beyond the raging of the storms. We just have to find that mysterious and illusive “WHY”, that helps us to always stay the course.
The reality of life is that it is hard for all of us, it is unfair many times for everyone. I just happen to be an alcoholic whose drinking led me to lose nearly everything. It was hard, some of the consequences unfair, but it was what it was and it is what it is. It is what I choose to do with it that really makes a difference. Do I use my recovery as a way to survive, or do I rise above and use it as an opportunity to really live. That is what I have come to realize is the truth for people who are in recovery or those searching to find it. It is a choice, and choice is a super power we all posses! Do I want to survive, or do I want to live?
Which leads me to divulge my secret sauce…
For me, choosing to live, has been the treasure I unearthed in a life of recovery. It opened the door again for an opportunity for me to find life. To experience what it was really like to live. Free, unabashed, and on purpose. The last six years has been full of training, discipline, development, and even some disappointment. It just has far less to do with being sober and so much more to do with living life and making my life matter. Which leads me to divulge my secret sauce to being euphorically alive. It all has come down to connection and purpose. Simple it seems and it is, yet for so many of us, addict or not, it is only a dream we spend a lifetime chasing but never quite grab a hold of.
In my first 46 years of life, all I wanted was to be all together with myself and others and all in on knowing my life mattered. I simply craved connection and a sense of purpose. But somewhere, somehow, it all got twisted. I thought that my connections were my purpose and when connections were lost, I lost all sense of direction in life. I needed people to feel “worth it”. They were the solution to all my problems but I could never really connect with anyone because I could never really connect with me. Without understanding who I was, my real value and identity, placing it in the hands of others, life was a continual revolving door of disappointments and failures. I thought life was all about me and all for me, come to find out it was neither.
Recovery allowed me to find myself again.
So if it wasn’t about me, then why did I even matter? Legit question that has an answer. I mattered because I was born with a purpose. A purpose to impact the lives of other people, I had value in the grand scheme of things. I was the greatest miracle in the world, but not just unto myself. It was up to me to choose something greater than just “Kip”. I mattered because it just was not about me. Recovery allowed me to find myself again. To see my gifts for what they were and who they were for. It restored in me my self worth which then allowed me to finally connect with others in the way I had so desperately wanted my entire life. I didn’t need the connection to be whole, I was whole. But now the connection had meaning because instead of completing you, which it never could, it did what connection was intended to. It enhanced every essence of life, opening multiple doors and windows into the beauty that is life, that flows all round every single one of us.
Purpose is the passion we would lay down our lives for.
Once I was secure in who I was, I began to see connection with others as a source of strength, intimacy, and spirituality. The most amazing thing about our connections, is that it provides us the opportunity to live on purpose. You see our purpose isn’t what we do, or how we do it, it is why we do it. Purpose is that passion we would lay down our lives for. Using our natural gifts and abilities to impact the lives of others. God made it so simple that even a child could understand it, yet we get so lost in ourselves, so lost in being all about “me”, we miss it. All of us just want to be fulfilled, to feel full of life and to know that we are important. It is predestined in us at creation, yet we cannot find it when we seek it for ourselves.
Sobriety restored the opportunity for me to live….
Jesus said, “to find life you first must lose it”. He is not saying He wants us to die. He is saying He wants us to live. We are suppose to put our own self aside and use the greatness within us to serve and love other people. That is what brings that fulfillment we all seek. We think we are to get love and life, but actually it is when we give it, we receive it. Six years of sobriety has enabled me to see clearly what it really means to be alive. Sobriety restored the opportunity for me to live through the adversity of being an alcoholic. It taught me how to value myself, to love who I was, so that I could connect with others. Which has led me to understand exactly what my purpose had been all along. Today I am happily married, my children have been restored to me, I am impacting lives daily in my profession, and most importantly, I feel “ALIVE” each and every day because I can give away what I have instead of wanting just to take.
The choice is yours….
So today is six six six years of a life in recovery. Sober and clean from the use of all substances that I used to run and hide from life and who I was. I have learned the secret sauce to really live life. Two simple ingredients. Connection and Purpose. Whatever we overcome, all of us, that adversity brings us opportunity for both. Know your worth and know you matter, because you do. Believe that and begin to connect with those around you and feel your soul transform. Then take those gifts and passions and impact the people who come across your path. By giving your life away, you find the life you dreamed of returned to you. We are all recovering from something, addicts, alcoholics, and all others but here is the pivotal question. Do you want to survive, or do you really want to live? The choice is yours. Choose wisely. Because in your adversity there is always opportunity.