My Life Looked Like Four Years Ago
I vividly remember what my life looked like four years ago. My family and I were in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico for New Year’s Eve of 2012. The hotel we were staying in had a fancy dinner buffet and free drinks to go around. People of the hotel were laughing, celebrating, and creating meaningful memories with each other. Not that I didn’t create a meaningful memory for my family and myself, but it was not a memory to be proud of. I was in full blown addiction by this time in my life. I was waiting for 12:00AM to come around so that we could all toast and celebrate the beginning of a new year. This was the case for my parents, brother and both of our girlfriends, but not for me. Something happened that night. You may call it a divine intervention. I was in the midst of so many happy people, and all I could do was cry. I was so unhappy with myself, but wasn’t sure why of all the reasons. The rest of the night was filled with unwanted drama and an urge to put more substances in my body. This was the night that changed my life.
My name is Gavin Valdez. I am a 24 year old Peer Recovery Support Specialist for the company that helped me begin a new life. Not all of my recovery has been filled with passion and excitement, but I can say that the majority has. Before I was finally able to get sober, I was not proud of the person I had become. Coming from a family that gave me everything I ever needed or wanted, I was spoiled, selfish, angry, immature, and confused. Living a life of spiritual recovery through the 12 Steps has taught me how to deal with life no matter what card is dealt to me. I have friends who I can call real friends, as opposed to the old friends that did not put my well-being first. I am a respected member of my family and am reminded of that by my grandfather every time I see him. I have held a job for the same company for a longer period of time than I ever did in my addiction. This is what my recovery has done for me.
Recovery is not just given, it also has to be passed along. I really enjoy watching the men who come through our program undergo similar transformations as the one I had in 2012. It is important for me to practice what is being taught so that I can be useful to the residents and family members who are reliant upon our help. Without service, I could not have found a happier way of life. Not only do I enjoy being of service to my clients, but actively participating in carrying the message of recovery to broken men is the most gratifying feeling. I hope that everyone man and woman who is struggling with addiction finds the willingness to believe in something greater. My struggles are not to be forgotten because they made me who I am today.