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I used to hear this phrase a lot in my early days of recovery and I couldn’t quite comprehend exactly what they meant. I mean after all I made meetings but I was struggling with staying clean. I began to feel like something was wrong with me. I began to doubt myself and if I could actually stay clean. My addiction started to rent space in my head and it started to affect my attitude towards the program and my behavior. With the help of some of the members with substantial clean time, I kept coming back.

I am grateful to those members. The ones who never gave up on this new comer. The ones who kept calling me when I didn’t show up. The ones who took me to meetings and to the parties and made me feel welcomed. I am truly grateful to them because now I understand what it means. I understand that it’s not enough to just show up to a meeting but I have to get involved. I have to participate in my own recovery.I have to make an effort to change my life. It does not just happen because I am at a meeting. My life is not all of a sudden magically delicious but it’s a whole lot better than it has EVER been. I show up for me today. No one else can do it for me.

I am not responsible for my disease, but I damn sure am responsible for my recovery.

It only works if YOU work it!!!

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Brrrrrrrr. Is all I can say this morning.

When I think of how cold it is today (its about 29 degrees in NYC) I have to also think of how grateful I am.

This time last year it was also cold but there is a big difference. Last year this time I was very new to recovery. I had about 23 days clean or something like that. I also remember the light company sending me a letter telling me that my lights would be cut off for non payment. That was November 9, 2013. So by this time last year I was living in a house with no electricity. No big deal right.


You see I used the electricity to heat up my room, to stay warm and also to heat up my microwaveable meals. I had to stay warm by electric heater because I also had not been paying my gas bill and they shut my gas off about 2 years before that. I was so far behind in payments that I just gave up trying to pay them back. You see giving them money as a payment plan didn’t make sense to me because I needed that money to by my drugs. I figured why the hell should I pay it they aren’t going to turn my gas on now so it can wait. I was so far gone that nothing else and I mean nothing else mattered anymore. I didn’t care that I was living in a house that was colder inside than it was outside. I didn’t care that I had to sleep in 2 or 3 layers of clothes at night and several blankets on the bed just to stay semi warm. It didn’t matter that I was taking showers (when I did take a shower) in water that was so cold that if I stood under it too long i would catch a brain freeze. But last year was different because I no longer wanted to use drugs. I wanted to change my life and so I had to improvise and make restitution to the powers that be. I did that and then some.

So this year I am celebrating more than just a year clean. I am celebrating a new way of life. I am celebrating the escape from the hell from which I came. I am grateful and thankful that today my lights are on. I am grateful that I have heat and hot water. I have a car. I have a roof over my head and I have friends who understand me and helped me get through those rough ass times..I am celebrating that guy with 23 days clean living in a cold and dark ass house who did not use


So I can be here to tell you about it today.

I remember that pain and I will not allow my addiction to lull me into a sense of comfort and complacency as to forget the hell that I have endured and survived. So take that Jack Frost. I am a survivor and I am ready for yo ass this year.