As 2017 begins it is natural to look back and contemplate the last twelve months. 2016 has been a horrendous year for many people, but for me it has been a year of rebirth, family, connection and abstinence. To coin a phrase, not only is it possible and attainable – transformation is real. With overwhelming love and support I have turned my life around. My new life is very uncomplicated. I love its simplicity. Here is a glimpse into my Gratitude Diary for 2016.
I write this on the day we celebrate a year in our new home – a tangible manifestation of the stability that underpins my new life. My wife and I care for my mother who has problems with mobility. In 2015 we still lived in her big old house which was crumbling and falling down around us. My mother could not make it upstairs so it had been three years since she had enjoyed a shower. She celebrated her 90th birthday in November, in her purpose-built annex to our new home, complete with made-to-measure wet-room. This is a blessing brought to my heart and mind by 2016.
Without the unconditional love, support and encouragement of my beautiful wife, Munizha, I would not be sober today. The death throes of my addiction nearly ended my marriage. It was her determination and faith in me that pulled me through. Her capacity for patience and forgiveness will never cease to amaze me. It took us twelve years from first meeting and falling in love till we got married. We recently celebrated our eleventh wedding anniversary. This last year, my first in recovery, has brought us closer than we have ever been. This is a blessing that I am working hard to deserve.
I am wrapped in the loving arms of my family. Most mornings I get my 10-year-old daughter out of bed. Any parent will understand that this is not always a calm process but my daughter now wants me to carry out this task whenever I am not working. Her curiosity and enthusiasm for life is inspiring. Being her father, a sober and present father, brings me more joy than I can find words to describe. Her growing trust in our relationship and in my sobriety is a blessing that has flourished in 2016.
In 2015 we lost my beautiful sister Diana after her inspirational four-year battle with cancer. She left three beautiful daughters in their twenties and thirties. They are strong and independent women who have the strength of their own conviction to follow their personal path. This is my sister’s legacy; she taught them to have the confidence to be themselves, so they are three very different women. My nieces bring me much joy. I am so proud to be their uncle and it is a blessing for me to be there to support and encourage them. Doing this keeps my sister close to me.
From the despair and isolation of an addict’s life, every day now brings new connections. I now have the time and will to invest in these connections and the result is an ever expanding source of inspiration and support – to name a few: Nicola from I Love Recovery Cafe, Chris from Recovery Revolution Online, Adam – the Sober Companion and Chris from Sober Command. Their support and guidance has been an essential part of my recovery. Sobriety has also led to many new projects, which feeds my essential need to be creative, which I had lost sight of in addiction. I am grateful to every single person involved in my recovery. Your presence in my life is a blessing.
I love my new, simple life. I am free from the tangled web of deception and shame. I am content just to be a husband, father, uncle, son and friend. Saying this, my recovery has brought me new goals and new ambitions; things I thought I had closed the book on. Do I have any resolutions for 2017? I have many; in fact I aim to make resolution my watchword. I still have to tell myself that I can’t do everything, but I have a building excitement to discover what 2017 has in store.
“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings” William Arthur Ward