We asked these clean and sober folks, with various lengths of recovery time, what brings them love and joy as they trudge the road of happy destiny
BY PAULO MURILLO
LOVE & JOY OF SOBRIETY
“My life is so different now. I just got a new place. I work in treatment now and I have a car. I have a new partner. My life is very contrary to before. I’m no longer a sex worker. I no longer make myself disposable. I’m not being used and I don’t use people. I’m not using alcohol or drugs. I’m literally living a simple life. No drama. Right now I’m working at Lacada, a drug and alcohol treatment program. I’m a monitor and a driver. I get to share my experiences and work with clients. I was discharged from parole, so no more parole officer. I’m doing urinary analysis on clients and I’m not the one being tested. I’m enjoying life. I enjoy having my commitments, taking people through the steps and being an example to other trans women as well as gay, lesbian and bi people. I enjoy working, shopping and doing everything while in recovery. Life is really good right now.”
—Chantay Mackey, sober since June 18, 2017.
“I love the fact that I’m present now. I lost my mother last year. I was able to be there for her, to take care of her, to tend to her needs and I don’t think that would’ve been possible had I still been partying the way I was partying. It’s been a whole different lifestyle for me. I’m calm. And I’m here. I’m enjoying life. I’m very satisfied with the way things have gone. Ten years ago, I was waking up and remembering the night before for the first time in a long time. There is a lot of serenity now. I’m able to share my experience and see people change their lives and I see people grow. I tell them how crazy my lifestyle was and they can’t believe it. What I do for fun is I play these video games [laughs]. This pandemic is nothing new for me. I stay away from everything, so I do these online games. I read and keeping busy, which fits right into this pandemic.”
—Jonathan Chang, sober since July 11, 2010.
“There are so many things that bring me joy in sobriety. I feel like a real person. I love the sense of freedom from the way I used to live. I always wanted freedom and I could never find it. Getting sober brought me that freedom. It may sound corny, but I had a boss who taught me things and developed my skills and mentored me, so finding someone that I can mentor and develop has been a joy. Some people aren’t seen for the talents that they have. They’re seen as a commodity. It’s very transactional. I like to find the people that nobody sees and I like to develop their skills so I when I move on, I leave something behind. At this moment, being 20 years sober, I am profoundly transformed to a man that considers my effect on the world. Every moment of every day, I make it a point to make sure that effect has meaning.”
—Jorge Usatorres, sober since January 29, 2001.
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