“Ignore the little voice that says, ‘I don’t want to recover’ and do it anyway.”
Before Larisa Washington became sober, the 32-year-old was going down a dangerous path by abusing alcohol and drugs. Loved ones encouraged Washington to get sober, but it would take years before she was able to pull the plug and really focus on what mattered to most: A substance-free life. “If I could go back to my former self, I’d tell her that being vulnerable and real with others helps us learn to love ourselves,” she shared. “I would tell her that it does get better and easier with time. That the most satisfactory years of your existence lie ahead. That she will look around one day and realize her life is so much more than she’d ever dreamed, and that is the kind of life she deserves. Why pass up an opportunity like that?”
“Life carries the possibility of spiritual awakening. Addiction is a barrier.”
Several years ago, Scott Kiloby’s life revolved around two things: working and getting drunk. After a full day as an attorney, he would drink until he passed out in the evening. “My life was miserable,” Kiloby says. “I was completely focused on how to get more alcohol and the firm conviction that all the alcohol in the world would never satisfy me,” he says. “I now live in the present moment completely, no longer shackled to thoughts and feelings of resentment and regret, or worry and anxiety about the future.”
As he tamed his addiction to booze, he had to recognize and overcome other obsessions, such as gambling, porn, caffeine, and sugar—to name a few.
“As I dropped the alcohol and then shed each addiction—one by one—I began practicing mindfulness which allowed me to live in the moment. I learned to live with a quiet mind; my fear, guilt, shame, anger, and sadness fell away. Today, I walk around in awe of the simple wonderment of life. I find joy in the simplest things: a tree, a child laughing, clouds rolling across the sky, an intimate conversation with a loved one,” he says. “I didn’t know back then that true peace and freedom are contained in the one place I was constantly refusing to look—the here and now.”
Recently, Kiloby opened the first rehab facility in the country focused on mindfulness: the Kiloby Center for Recovery.
“You cannot do this alone.”
Author Heidi Heath Garwood, started drinking heavily in her early 20s and she didn’t get sober until three days before her 50th birthday. “I always knew I drank more—and more obsessively—than anybody I was drinking with. Then drinking began interfering with my work and daily life,” she said. “The last time I got drunk, I woke up at 3:30 in the afternoon with no idea of what I had done that day.” Garwood turned to her faith to help her recover. “I prayed and asked God to take this from me. The obsession lifted the moment I turned it over to a higher power. For years, I had tried to do it on my own, but the minute I asked for God’s help, my drinking was over.”
By attending AA meetings, having a sponsor, and being a sponsor, Garwood was able to move forward. She also prays and meditates daily to help her get out of her own head and stay in the present moment.