This picture is a pretty good representation of how I felt leaving treatment at the age of 23. I do not think the reality of the journey I was embarking on hit until I saw the Austin City Limits sign. Prior to moving to Austin, the only association I had with Austin was 6th street.
This time, my purpose for coming to Austin was Recovery. See…while I was in treatment, my counselor kept talking about sober living and it was what I needed. By the time I agreed to the idea, I needed to take the next step and talk to my father. I clearly remember explaining the concept to him. He said one statement, “There is no such thing!” and then he hung up the phone.
I remember thinking to myself that I was doing the right thing and he should believe me. At the time, I did not take into consideration how many times I had lied to my parents. After a licensed professional confirmed my statements, I was off to Austin for sober living.
Being sober at 23 brought about a whole different set of life changes. In my late teens and early twenties, my life was enmeshed with alcohol and drugs. I do not recall any daily activities in which one was not involved.
I believe my experience in sober living helped me be a 23 year old in recovery. Outside of not using drugs or alcohol, I had to learn to live life. At that time, a social life was a part of it. Prior to being sober, my idea of fun was seeing how messed up I could get. I had to learn how to have fun at the movies and bowling alley, without drugs and alcohol. At first it was different. I was learning how to be comfortable with myself and not make decisions based on other people’s responses.
Being in a sober home, helped me with this. To not be a people pleaser. The common bond I shared with all the guys, was the idea of being sober. The experience allowed me the ability to learn from their experiences. It did not matter if they had one more day sober than me, or a few months. The wealth of sober knowledge in that home, was like living in a library. The best comparison I can give is; The experience is similar to living in a frat house, without the partying.
If you are considering sober living, my best advice is to take the opportunity. The experience taught me a lot and provided me a safe, clean and sober place to call home. At that time in my life, that is what I needed. The experience has helped me stay sober for the last 8 1/2 years.
Until Next time…….