I never thought we would be acquainted. I always assumed that I would continue to indulge in the darkness that clouded my judgments. I was comfortably numb for several years, dealing with the pain of my past generations. I chose comfort in the bottle. It was my only friend.
Then I met you, sobriety. I never sought you out. I never wanted to meet you because of what you might ask of me. I was too comfortable being uncomfortable. For some time, I chose to ignore my conscience because it always questioned my intentions every time I drank. I didn’t listen to my spirit who reminded me that I was killing myself after every binge. I chose to continue hurting myself so I could feel cool or popular.
Alcohol and drugs made me feel like I was more confident. It made me feel like I was the centre of attention. It made me feel “good.” It only harmed my health and safety: it damaged meaningful relationships and it closed off my own mental, physical, spiritual and emotional growth. Alcohol was a terrible friend to me. I know how people feel about you sobriety and I felt the same way about you as well. But you have given me the opportunity to find my own happiness and to love myself naturally.
All the things I sought out to achieve with my friend alcohol never came to be. I sought success, fame, relationships and friendships with my friend alcohol. The more I wanted these things, the more alcohol would lead me in the wrong direction. Again, they were a terrible friend.
It wasn’t until you were introduced to me by my now wife that I realized you were what I needed. I saw the spark in her eye when she talked about you and I saw the endless opportunities that came with you. I chose to be your friend that day. I now have success, fame, relationships and friendships that are healthy. And you taught me about humility — and that has been the most important lesson of all.
I am humbled to be sober. I am no better than any other human on this earth for this. I empathize with anyone dealing with addiction. Sobriety, you have taught me that everyone has a choice to be truly happy. And, most importantly, they deserve it.
Josh Lewis is a 27-year-old educator, nonprofit worker, radio host and singer/songwriter. He is Anishinaabe from Wikwemikong/Sudbury in Ontario and belongs to the Sturgeon Clan. Josh works at Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health as the Aboriginal school liaison.