Courage To Change
We asked a few local sober folks about the moment they decided they were done drinking and/or using drugs, and what they’re life is like now after making that decision.
BY PAULO MURILLO
“The last time I got loaded, I was severely beaten up by the police and I was just done. I couldn’t breathe; I had three broken ribs; my face was fucked up, and I had only been out of prison for a couple of days and ended up going back in. When I was in prison, I started reaching out to people who were trying to change their life, so for the three years I was incarcerated, I started doing 12-step work. My life is completely different today… It is so much better and I have so much peace and serenity that I can’t even define with words.”
—Tony Matthews, sober since September, 2012.
“I didn’t realize I had the disease of addiction. I had been [using] all day, every day for years, but I wanted something different, because I was in so much pain. My mom gave me two options: I could go to rehab, or I could die in the streets, so I went to rehab. I relapsed a few times, but the minute I realized I had this disease, I was terrified and I got very willing. [In sobriety] I didn’t know I could have this much peace and this much joy and authentic love and feeling connected to humanity and actually like myself. I have been given literally a life beyond my wildest dreams.”
—Carrie Hope Rogers, sober since November 2003.
“I decided to make a change when I realized about the illusion or delusion of what I thought the drugs and alcohol were going to do. That illusion would never come true, so the idea of going after it—that is the insanity. My life has greatly improved sober, but what I hold most dear to my heart is my spiritual experience and my daily ability to connect to this divinity… Through that spiritual connection I find my strength.”
—Nikas Jacksie, sober since December, 2014.
“I was in prison and I was still using. I got in trouble and they threw me in the hole. On the third day in the hole, I actually heard a voice asking me if I was ready to die. I remember saying, no, I don’t want to die, and that voice told me to change everything. In my life I’ve had a lot of what we call God shots and I never paid attention, but I heard this one. I decided I can’t use anymore… When I got out of prison, I ran into a friend who was four years sober and he took me to a 12-step meeting and that’s how I was able to maintain my sobriety. My life today is extraordinary.”
—Marc Rabins, sober since January, 1995.
“Time and time again, it just got worse and worse. I recently went out and once again, I thought I could try a different formula and that formula is always something I think I can control and make work and it—like other formulas I’ve tried in the past—did not work. It was ridiculous. I had to stop. My life absolutely improved in sobriety. In my drinking and using, the things that are supposed be important, become unimportant. Now I actually have motivation to do things and make changes.”
—Aaron Ross, sober since February, 2015.