The Share

First Year Sober

Happy New Year! These men recently celebrated one year of continuous clean and sober time. We asked what that first year of recovery was like for them.

The Reality

“My first year sober has been about self-discovery and self-study. I learned to look at things that I was not willing to look at before, like jealousy or having unreasonable expectations. I’ve learned to be open and staying teachable. I always had a problem with God and I had many judgments about recovery. I now believe there is something bigger than me that is keeping me sober. It shifts the way I look at things. My life has been great, but I always focused on the negative. I took things for granted like my friends, my job, my family and I focused on the small things I didn’t have, but the reality is that I have health, I have friends and I now have relationships with people. Those are the things that count the most. I know it sounds cliché, but I take it one day at a time. That’s what I’ve learned this past year.”

—Magno Ramirez, sober since November 6, 2016.

Spiritual Program

“It’s been a pretty heavy year. I had a boyfriend. We were both addicts. We met in rehab and we relapsed together. Things got crazy. He threatened to kill himself and then he stepped in front of a truck on the freeway and committed suicide. It was an extreme grief for me. I stayed sober through that and now I have my year. This was the worst year of my life, but this has also become the best year in my life thanks to my spiritual program. A big part of spiritual sobriety is you pray. When Kyle died, I couldn’t pray. I was very mad at God. And then I had a spiritual awakening, which I experienced because I stayed sober. Good things are happening for me right now. I’m working at a really good job. I’m actually happy. Having joy for me isn’t the miracle. The miracle is that I got sober. If I hadn’t stayed sober, I know I would dead.”

—Eric Weinstein, sober since December 5, 2016.

Recovery Everyday

“I didn’t know anything about recovery, but I used drugs until I hit the bottom of my life. My friend introduced the recovery program to me. He told me about the Van Ness Recovery House. They asked me to call for two weeks to get help from them and then I became a resident. After that I did everything they asked me to do. It was hard for a while, because I’m from Thailand and English is not my first language. The staff gave me time and patience and I also was willing to learn. I was very thorough and then it worked for me. I do the 12 steps. I have a sponsor and I go to the meetings. My life is recovery everyday. I love it. When I got a year, I did not think it was possible. The most important thing I learned this year is don’t use no matter what.”

—Worawarun Kongpennid, sober since November 14, 2016.