What does a 22 years of sobriety mean to me?

What does a 22 years of sobriety mean to me?

Good morning,

I am Glenn Derby and I am an alcoholic and drug addict who is celebrating 22 years of sobriety today through the Grace of God. Why is this important to me? Well over 22 years ago I was so desperate and out of control that I tried to take my own life several times. I was in a failed marriage and failed career and was not finding any drugs or amounts of alcohol could cure my pain. The more I took the worse I felt. Back then there were no social media sites, cell phones, I think the internet may have been born but I knew nothing about it and the only reference of an alcoholic was the guy I saw on streets with gloves and shoes with no fingers or souls on them drinking out of a paper bag. So when my first ex wife introduced me to this disease by taking her to treatment for her issues and I ended up being the one that the counselors said had the problem it was totally foreign and scary to me. Today I think that the disease is much more known to most people.

Celebrating 22 years of sobriety today ūüôā

Posted by Glenn Derby on Thursday, January 28, 2016

This is my story and I have been pulled and tugged by God to share this as a way to help others. I would sometimes prefer to be quiet and stay in my own little world and not have to struggle with others judging or feel the fear and difficulties of sharing my inner thoughts and what I sometimes feel are crazy thinking to others but it has become very clear to me that it is something I have to do.

A few years ago I found myself in similar kind of feelings and desperation of what was “next” and why did I feel so terrible about myself and my life. I fortunately had two beautiful daughters that meant the world to me so there was no thoughts of taking my life but I was miserable inside and out. What was missing? I had been sober now for over 15 years and was in a marriage that was supposed to be what life was about with two daughters and careers but yet here I was totally empty inside. I was once again isolating and pulling back from anyone and everyone.

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I won’t bore you with details but I had been lead to a church and was reintroduced to God in a different way than I had been through programs, etc. This was not a religious God and it was not a religious church. this was just the words that Jesus spoke in the bible. I started to pray differently and to learn to listen in a different manner. I found that by listening different and paying attention to what truly was going on inside me I started to get different messages than I had ever had in the past.

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Now I have done some terrible things in my drinking career and I also have done some terrible things in my sober time as well. Just because I put the plug in the jug did not mean that I was cured and well. For years I thought if I just knew that if I took sobriety as a life or death situation and chose each day not to drink because I did not want to die that my life would be good. Meetings helped me to stay away from drinking but something was missing. Through the Grace of God I was able to stay away from a drink or drug even when I was feeling desperate and for this I am so grateful because I do know that if I choose to minimize this task my life will be that much more painful and difficult.

Again this is my story and take what you like and leave the rest but for me I found that meetings started to feel very similar to church when I was younger. I heard the same readings, the same messages, the same routines, etc. I felt like there was more and it was not the church or the meetings fault by any means. This was something that was inside me that was yearning for more. I was wanting to do and be more than I was. I wanted deeper relationships, I wanted to be a better person than I was but I was so caught up in worldly things. Food, sex, money, things, status etc. were what was on my mind and I could not shake it. I went to counselors, and talked to many people and found myself still feeling like I was that same messed up person. I am still dealing with this after 22 years of no alcohol and drugs. This is a process and I believe it is worth it but the lessons keep on coming and for that I am not grateful where I used to think that I couldn’t take any more and that I was never going to be happy. I no longer feel that way.

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22 years is a big deal and every day is a big deal because I get another chance to learn and grow. I do not have any idea what God has in store for me but I am learning to trust him and to really understand that it is his way not mine. It is through the Grace of God. Grace was something I knew little about before this past couple years and I am understanding it more. I have always felt that I would be dead from the way I lived and probably wanted it that way I think but God’s Grace had other ideas for me.

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So I have shared some of my story with you today. My hope is that by sharing someone out there can find some parts of this and either get help or find something that helps them get through their day. Drugs today are way more potent and dangerous than the drugs when I was using. The alcohol is still to this day an accepted form of death in our society which is something that is beyond my understanding. Our society is more concerned with Gun control. In 2013 alone,¬†33,636¬†people in America were killed by gun violence.¬†100,000 persons die each year from alcohol-related causes: drinking and driving crashes, other accidents, falls, fires, alcohol-related homicides and suicides. (NCAAD).¬†¬†That is 100,000 deaths a year from alcohol and many¬†want to legalize marijuana. I get that weed is less dangerous than other drugs and alcohol as far as deaths go. But what I have found is that to truly find who your authentic self is meant to be requires work on our bodies and mind and heart that drugs and alcohol cannot help us to find. If you are depressed, lonely, scared, living in fear, not taking care of your temple (body) you will not find the peace that many of us are hoping to find. I do understand that there are many people that do fine with some wine or beers or drinks and can handle it and make smart decisions to that. In the bible there it says¬†‚ÄúWine produces mockers; alcohol leads to brawls. Those led astray by drink cannot be wise.‚ÄĚProverbs 20:1 NLT http://bible.com/116/pro.20.1.nlt. I understand that there are some that are not led astray but are they wise? are they not mockers or brawlers? Most of the time I am one to believe that people can but I know that I cannot. I get led astray enough as it is to know that I need help and what I want to come across as not someone who is judging or telling you that what you do is wrong, because I believe there is only one that can do that. What I am suggesting is that you look at yourself and find that authentic self that you truly are and let that take the lead in how you live your life. If you, like me, have difficulties doing this then please invest in making a change for yourself. I truly believe that putting the plug in the jug and refusing to take drugs for 22 years has helped me to become a better person and my wish and prayer is that wherever you are in your journey you can find a direction as well.

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There are people and churches and programs available to you. I recommend finding some way to invest in yourself to make changes. I am back to attending meetings on a regular basis and church as well as a church group. There are ways to get help by spending money on great coaches and counselors but there are also ways to get help that cost almost nothing but the gas to get from here to there. If you dig deep inside you, you will find that God will help you and will show you a way. Maybe reading this or reading another article on different topics will stir you inside to go find more will move you to make the change. Maybe you will become in trouble with the law or family or your living place will be what pushes you to invest in yourself? Whatever it is realize that it is God that is giving you messages to change. One of my trainers whom Ive developed great respect for tells us regularly if it doesn’t challenge you it will not change you!! This is true as one of my former coaches used to drill into our heads that you either get better or you get worse, you will never remain the same. So do yourself a favor and realize that these painful things happening in your life are messages for you to make a change.

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4 comments

  1. Derbs,
    You’ve got grit, buddy. Big time. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Glenn, so glad to see you doing well. I have thirteen years sobriety and as many as a saved child of God. I am also blessed by what Jesus has done in me since I have accepted his free gift of salvation. God bless.

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