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  1. #1

    Default Thank You SMART Recovery -

    Hello Everyone,

    When I began trying to get clean, I never expected to be where I am today. For as long as I have known, drugs and alcohol were a normal coping mechanism for anyone in my town. As a teenager you may sometimes see the world as a harmless, carefree playpen for you to explore. By the time I reached my 20's I began a career in professional sports. For 15 years I abused my body with pills and alcohol. How I even played for so long still has me baffled to this day.

    Everything my whole life had always come second to my needs, which seemed to only be a good time all the time. Looking back at it all I can see how my alcoholism and drug abuse slowly progressed. Where I grew up it was normal. No one ever talked about drugs or alcohol because no one ever wanted to face the truth. So they began to make heavy drinking and drug use the standard normality. In my opinion, my journey with alcoholism started because of a communities ignorance to what alcoholism actually was. It is not their fault, as I believe it was just passed from generation to generation without any thought whatsoever. Maybe it can be changed someday.

    So I was raised in this community where alcohol and drugs were as common as cheese is on a pizza. I became a succesful athlete which only accelarated and magnified my problems. As the problems piled on I tried to mask them and, like my community, say that it was normal behaviour. I did not want to admit to having a problem. I just kept reinforcing in my mind that what I was doing was ok and that my actions while drunk were "not that bad". I met a girl, who at the time shared in my crazy alcohol filled lifestyle and fell in love and got married. Our marriage was a roller coaster of drinking and fighting and love. We loved each other so much but would treat each other terribly when drinking. We could see each others problem but we always went back to the bottle. as we neared our thirties she slowed her drinking down and I merely had less drinking days but with more alcohol and added pills into the mix more. I could be sober for a week or two and then drink 2 weeks worth of alcohol in a night and wake up with my wife despising me and no recollection of the evening. This stage went on for 2 years or so and was wearing my wife thin.

    The last 3 years of my "issues" involved alcohol, sleeping pills and pain meds. A very serious combination. Alcohol would cause me terrible hangovers so I would take some painkillers during the day. I would lie to my wife about drinking alone and taking them so I would have guilt. To curb that I would take ambien... these little suckers became my kryptonite. I would pop a couple at night and drink. Pass out and wake up with missed calls and texts from my wife. (We lived apart for periods of time for work purposes). She would worry day and night that one day I just wouldn't wake up. That the person that was supposed to protect her and keep her safe would just cease to exist. Then one night, I finally pushed her to her limits. I woke up to a familiar site. Her not in bed and a massive hangover and blank space in my head. When I found out what had happened I did not believe it. She even videoed me... This was what changed me. Seeing myself in that state sickened me to my core. From that day I told her I would never touch a substance again. She had heard it before. I told her to leave me the moment I used something to alter my state ever again.
    I sought out help, which is a lot more difficult than one might think, and began my road to recovery.

    My wife stayed distant but as I started telling her about why I felt I needed drugs she started to see something. She saw that I was damaged and was trying to fix something with the wrong tools. As I began with my life saving therapist, I started to understand things. I learned that it is ok to need help. My whole life I had this misconstrued vision of what being a man was. I thought that needing help would make me weak and in turn not a man. Boy was I wrong. Being able to face my problems and accept that I needed help was the hardest thing I have done but also the most uplifting. To know that I could share my struggles with my wife and wouldn't be judged gave me so much hope and it was like a huge weight was lifted off of me.

    After this initial experience I still felt like I was different. Why do I have these problems? Why am I so incapable of knowing my limit? etc etc. My therapist recommended SMART Recovery. I think I spent 2 - 3 hours a day minimum on here. I was so compelled by everyones stories. They were just like mine. A community of support. It on more than one occasion brought tears to my eyes. I would read and read story after story about hardship and pain. But with these stories came hope, and success. I found that writing a journal on here, along with doing the exercises and a few online meetings, helped me understand why I was doing what I was. I was getting sober to better my life. I wanted to start a family, I wanted to rebuild relationships with my family and most of all I wanted to be happy with who I was. Self love was missing from my life. I thought I was getting sober for my wife when I first started but as things pregressed the real reason shined through. I was doing this for myself. Once I forgave myself and started to love myself everything in my life became brighter. My relationship with my wife became stronger than ever. My brain was clear and more efficient. I felt like a whole new person. It is amazing what can happen to your person as a whole when you put a little work into it. I would continue to work at it...

    Fast forward 427 days... Present time

    As I sit and write this my 1 month old daughter lays beside my in her panda onesie sleeping soundly and most adorable. I still can't believe she is real. If you were to tell me one year ago that this is where our life would be, I would have laughed at you. I have been sober for over a year, my wife and I have built a trusting and loving relationship. I am more in love with her than ever before. She stuck with me through it all. She is the strongest woman I know and I will never be able to thank her enough for enduring what she did. The harder the battle the sweeter the victory I suppose.

    I will always have to walk the path of addiction and forever be wary of its dangers, but I will never walk it alone.

    I want to thank every single person that has shared on this website. I honestly would have never made it past that opening 6 weeks without you all. This site and its members are part of the reason I am sitting where I am today. I have never been happier, more humble or more thankful than I am today. All because you said that silence wasn't an option anymore. From the bottom of my heart thank you because without out all of you I would have nothing.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2014


    It was posts like yours that gave me hope three and a half years ago!
    With the changes you've made,your precious child will never know the person you used to be,only the person you have become,that's a blessing!
    Congrats to you, oh and a panda onesie...adorable!!!

  3. #3
    Saska's Avatar
    Saska is offline Former Message Board Volunteer
    SMART Face to Face Facilitator
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Southwest Colorado


    I love Love LOVE this post!! CONGRATULATIONS JJWil18, and thank you for sharing this. Wishing you and your family all the love, peace and happiness that life has to offer.
    "Keep kicking against the darkness until it bleeds light."

  4. #4
    LMR555's Avatar
    LMR555 is offline SMART Super Moderator
    SMART Online Leadership Team
    Former SMART MB Liaison
    Former SMART Online Facilitator
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Southwest Fl


    Hello JJWil,
    Congrats to you and all your successes. Thank you for sharing your journey and experience.

    Best to you and your family!!
    "Discover the Power of Choice!"

    “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb

    Join the team as a SMART Message Board Volunteer!! It can encourage growth and joy. Or support with a donation

  5. #5


    Thanks for sharing your inner thoughts and experience. Congratulations on your successes. Enjoy your new baby, the early years go by so quickly.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Los Angeles, CA


    Wow!!! What a powerful story. Thank you so much for sharing it. I am very new to this journey and wonder if there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You have proven that there is. I am very happy for your and your family. Take it all in. As curly_sue says, time will fly with that little one and before you know it you will be sending her off to college! Congratulations and thanks so much for sharing!

  7. #7

    Default great story!

    Quote Originally Posted by lighthouselover View Post
    Wow!!! What a powerful story. Thank you so much for sharing it. I am very new to this journey and wonder if there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You have proven that there is. I am very happy for your and your family. Take it all in. As curly_sue says, time will fly with that little one and before you know it you will be sending her off to college! Congratulations and thanks so much for sharing!
    I am new to this forum, I attended Smart meetings in San Diego in 2009, and really like the approach. No 12 step superstition, nice emphasis on practical solutions, GOD FREE
    Thank you for your post

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by lighthouselover View Post
    Wow!!! What a powerful story. Thank you so much for sharing it. I am very new to this journey and wonder if there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You have proven that there is. I am very happy for your and your family. Take it all in. As curly_sue says, time will fly with that little one and before you know it you will be sending her off to college! Congratulations and thanks so much for sharing!
    I am new to this forum, I attended Smart meetings in San Diego in 2009, and really like the approach. No 12 step superstition, nice emphasis on practical solutions, GOD FREE
    Thank you for your post

  8. #8
    Gordon1's Avatar
    Gordon1 is offline SMART Online Facilitator
    Former SMART Face to Face Facilitator
    Former SMART Online Meeting Liaison
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Melbourne, Australia


    That is a LIFE well LIVED!

    Got a lump in my throat reading your wonderful triumphs and thankyou very much for sharing them.

    More Power of Choice to you
    What got me sober was trying to get sober. Often when I lapsed, picked up, drank, I FELT thoroughly beaten. I thought at that time "there is no hope for me" Yet, when I had recovered from that thought just a little, I thought "I'll have another go!" It was a few little sparks, rather than a flame, that got me here!

  9. #9


    Wow, that made me teary eyed! Thank you for sharing.

  10. #10


    Wow, thank you for sharing! Very motivational!

  11. #11


    Very inspiring!!! It is really inspiring to hear and see how SMART , ACT, and other resources have helped so many. the ABCDE has helped me leave behind so many beliefs I used to carry. It is almost like I am unrecognizable to so many others that 'knew the old me". With accetpance, I've had to learn to be open to the perceptions of others in my dynamic change. My gifts that ABCDE, CBA have given me are truly countless, and continue. Today, with my frame of mind, I learn to dispute irrational and limiting beliefs, and thanks to smart , I don't have to keep myself in comparsion to a higher power of what others think. I share a gratitude for SMART and how it works so differently that any other self empowering format! As I continue to grow and progress, I have such a stable unconditional positive regard for others, the challenges that come up, adn the confidence in advocacy of how SMART , ACT, and even the Hoola Hoop boundaries operate in real life! Awesoem!

  12. #12


    Hearing and listening how others define success is really great. SMART gave me deep gifts.. I wil ltry to unearth it.. but my words might not get to the real gold I have been given with smart.. My SMART story is probably like so many other success stories. Save the hard work and practice... and the smart alphabet soup: using ABCDE, CBA, HOV, USA ,ULA UOA, ACT, Boundaries and LOGOS! Sharing from a similar point I made earlier, I can't emphasize just how amazing the internal consciousness change and shift that has occurred in my mind by repetitiously doing the tools. It's not auto pilot, nor unaware ignorance, its choices about how I respond or not! I can't possibly sing loud enough about how SMART taught me " I don't have to go to every argument I am invited". I have the right to refuse, and others can refuse me!

    SMART has helped me so much about how to deal with my mom and dad with boundareis, and all others!! Let me explain my joy!!!!!!!! I don't have to have approval, nor love, of others, even if its highly desirable, my mom, dad, bro, sis, peers.. and I konw they love me!!!! I realize I am loved by others, even if they might "do hateful things acts and words!" I am confident in the belief the universe and other people actually do love me!!! I am now free to love and accept them too... regardless of acts, pasts etc!!!! How powerful is that SMART!!! THanks you SMART!! What a frigging mega game changer!!

    . And in fact, I can be hated, objectified, left out, marginalized, misinterpreted, and with abcde, cba, and boundaries echoing in my head and heart.. its not my business how much someone busys themselves hating me, casting me out, and all the venom and toxic energy to spew out on me!!! I can be the target, but not VICTIM! YES, Thank you SMART. I can live my life of love, patience, tolerance, and acceptance of others, regardless of BOTH ERRORS and fallibility!!! YEs, even I am very WRONG about how I am actually being!!! even if I think others in my life... might sort of sorta choose gang up, crucify, make up narratives about me, misconstrue my positive regards and sincere efforts and call me all kinds of names!!!! or somehow percievably think i am attacking them and ignoring them negatively by not engaging.. the way my dad suggested I stole money i raised for my step mom's cancer! I did not like the fact that even though I raised money for my dad's wife, that he thought I was stealing, even as al the money went to his bank!!! He insisted I had stolen money from the bar where the fundraiser was at!!!!!! I love my dad and he loves me, and I know it, regardless of actions!!!

    I recognize i was the target of much hateful actions, but i believe love is in the hears... and even, when I merely hold firm boundaries to decrease interactions or be refuted by others and deliberately neglected, with love, care, and my choice to simply not engage others on their apparently perceived - which I may be wrong to you know- anger, hate, or toxic behaviors. That has helped me out so much with my mom and dad. That had proven to be a boundary even to me. I learned that I don't have to respond to, defend myself against other opinions ( even if such opinions are highly negative, bigoted, mis heard, or reach some sort of consensus in some manner outside of my control ). I heard that silence in golden, but at time I Find that there is nothing warm and fuzzy about gold! I thank smart that I learned via ABCD and CBA that I don't have to be a people pleaser, even if the consensus of mere opinions about me, happen to be misconstrued, I am not responsible for the perceptions or reality of others, nor their choices! That has been a real game changer in my path . I look forward to how and if SMART evolves unlike any other program of positive self empowerment!!! AAwesomemy deepest fullest sincere no holds barred gratitude for every drop of typing, sweat, donations, and love that pour in here!!!

    I learend I don't have to be an addict to be here, or have a life path of 'overcoming addiction as some lifestyel" teh aBCDE got me past that. I had no idea how unempowering that belief held me in bondage.. i have more too, but this is the essence.

  13. #13


    Really awesome. Thanks for sharing this here. really worth it!

  14. #14


    Your story and my story are like a mirror image, your story has given me strength to keep being motivated to stay sober. Thank you so very much. Enjoy your bundle of joy which is another miracle.

  15. #15


    An image to keep you sober

  16. #16


    8 months today! Maybe once I hit the year marker I will write more. Today I have just this message.

    "So this is what it feels like to be happy!"

    Thanks Smartians!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2016


    Hi ameli,

    I am so very happy to see what you are writing here, it really brings tears to my eyes! From the depth of my heart, I wish you all the best in this amazing adventure of sober living!

    Much peace and joy to you,

    Sobriety date: Oct 7, 1999 alcohol/drugs

  18. #18


    Way to go, JJ!

    (Smartians! lol)
    Forgiveness is giving up all hope for a better past.

  19. #19


    Kalare you have been a big part of my recovery. I am grateful to everyone here who took the time to be part of my life and help me find the joy that recovery brings.


  20. #20


    Your post has really inspired me. I joined yesterday and am 20hours sober. You make me feel the light at the end of the tunnel.
    Congratulations on winning your battle, on your new little girl and on making your wife proud.

  21. #21


    This is one of the greatest stories I have ever heard. Thanks for sharing this with me

  22. #22


    thank you, you've told some of my story!

  23. #23


    Thanks for sharing this... I really love it!

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