What is your clean date? Tell us a short paragraph on how you are living your best life now post addiction and recovery?
I got clean on the 18th-January-2014 and I'm still counting. I constantly remind myself of the destructive pattern of life I lived while in active addiction.
My life now is full of nothing but gratitude and peace, I was able to go back to school, I have a good relationship with my family and I'm doing just fine. Life in recovery has taught me to be patient, selfless, generous, to love and most of all has given me a connection with God. I no longer feel alone or inferior to anyone anytime of the day. I can roam about without having to bother about the police or drug law enforcement agents. Recovery has helped me discover myself and to know that I am significant in the universe.
How did addiction keep you from living your best life?
I was centered on myself alone, didn't care about anybody. It's like a university where selfishness is the curriculum, insane drama, pain and a lack of significance as the final result. I couldn't express myself when I wanted to, didn't know how to manage money and everything I had.
Everyday was a battle of escaping reality, I felt it was not normal to be angry,disappointed or deprived of something. Drugs were the gateway to happiness as I thought but the more I used,every ounce of peace inside of me gets crushed and turned into a war within me. I couldn't concentrate in school (secondary and tertiary) which was why I had to be enrolled in a few of them. A great number of police officers were very familiar with me because the order of each day was breaking the law, being under the influence of drugs and alcohol and in possession of these substances. Addiction kept me from living my best life because everything I ever wanted or thought I needed while in the destructive pattern never came to me, I was a total failure, couldn't grow, learn, love and be creative. I was just empty!
What and who guided you toward an addiction free journey?
I remember my mom inviting a man over to the house and the was the first time I had a conversation with someone who totally understands my situation. We spoke for a couple of minutes and he told me about a place I can go to, somewhere in Plateau State (Nigeria). His coming over was as a result of me talking to my mother about how hopeless I felt about my addiction. Soon as he left we began making arrangements to travel from Kaduna State to Plateau where the rehab was located. On getting there, I met 14 people from different backgrounds and orientation, some were just alcoholics while the others were addicts and I was like the only addict/alcoholic but I didn't let the idea weigh me down.
On my first day, during therapy I met an Irish man (a Catholic Priest) who was the director at the rehab, he mentioned being an alcoholic in recovery,he spoke for a while and in his speech he made mention of the twelve steps of Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous. I became curious and laid my hands on the big book/basic text. He really taught me a lot and told me to make sure I maintain a personal relationship with God. I stayed in the rehab for 8weeks where I had to just swallow every pain of withdrawal because they don't administer any form of medication for detox, it was just natural detox where I had to face reality on reality's terms. When I left the rehab life was not as easy it appeared to be during my stay in the rehab. AA/NA is not recognized in Nigeria so I began searching and made a few friends(a man from Oklahoma and a woman from Texas)on facebook. We exchanged numbers and they played a vital role in my journey.
What plan and steps did you take to get out of addiction?
The idea of picking up a book and applying some steps in it sounded silly to me initially but the moment I did and held on to all that I was told to do my life began to make sense. I read the AA big book and a few other literature, the Basic Text, then I adhered to all the lessons in it and began living life on life's terms.
When did you decide it was time to take action?
I decided it was time to take action when I had time to reflect, I compared myself to the dreams I had while I was growing up. I realized that I wasn't living, I was as good as a walking dead, all the decisions I ever made were under the influence of a drug or alcohol and the results were always catastrophic. I needed to see productive results, I got tired of causing pain to those who love me, I got tired of running away from reality. I remembered that I was born to stand out not to fit in, I remembered that in me was a seed that needed to grow into a fruit bearing tree.
What was at stake for you if you didn't take these actions to get sober?
My life was at stake if I didn't get sober, I would have run completely mad by now roaming in dirt on the streets, in an institution for the mentally unhealthy or would have been incarcerated for a crime if I didn't get clean. My life was in danger because I was becoming a problem to the police and a few gangs around. If I had not taken those steps to get clean I would have seized to exist because I was dying while in active addiction.
For someone in the same situation as you were who wants to get clean, what would you want to tell them?
I know you're scared of the process but recovery is a path you will never regret walking on. Everything you have ever been promised by alcohol or a drug is a lie. When you're in recovery you learn how to constantly look at the reflection in the mirror, you become teachable, you become tolerant, you see the results of every effort you're putting in life to become the best version of yourself.
Don't hesitate to reach out. Don't die in the silence! Recovery may appear difficult but it is possible.
Daniel John Sukai, a surveyor(Geomatics Engineer) in the making, I love living sober which is why I am carrying the message of recovery with me to the still suffering addict. I'm from Nigeria. You can get in touch with me on Facebook Danny John Sukai or on Instagram- theclinic29.
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