Experience allows a person to learn, grow, and hopefully become wiser. It comes from having been there, done that, and better decision making should be the logical and rational outcome. However, addiction sustains itself through irrational thinking until the person finally finds the strength and hope necessary to overcome it. This usually happens through a spiritual awakening and a conscious connection with a higher power of some kind. Once this happens, this person should share their experience, strength and hope in an effort to help others stay clean and sober while bolstering their own sobriety at the same time. This is the last step in all 12-step recovery programs, and it, along with all of the other steps, should be practiced daily in all of their affairs.
People must possess strength in the form of mental and moral power and courage in order to sustain successful sobriety, and recovery from addiction is virtually impossible without hope. Experience is the one ingredient in this formula which is not necessarily required in order to remain clean and sober. People can learn from the experiences of others, and make logical and rational decisions regarding the use of drugs and alcohol without ever having experienced these substances themselves.
The author was recently allowed to share his own experience, strength and hope with approximately one hundred and thirty seventh and eighth graders at Richfield Public School Academy in Flint, Michigan. What a blessing! Most of these children are at the age where they have probably been exposed to drugs and alcohol in one way or another, and some have likely started using already. None of them have nearly the experience with drugs and alcohol as their guest speaker, so they all learned a great deal from his brief life story.
They were riveted as he told them actual stories of jails, institutions and death … oh, my! He had lived and experienced thirty years of substance abuse and addiction, and is now over two years clean and sober. The hard truths that he told definitely got through to many of these youngsters, and his own strength and message of hope was heard and seen loud and clear. Some of the kids even confided in him after class about family members who were addicts or alcoholics, and he guided them where they could seek help. There is no doubt that his experience, strength and hope touched many lives on this day, and hopefully some heard something that will keep them from becoming addicts and alcoholics themselves.
The children were not the only ones who benefitted on this day. Speaking to six classes of youngsters and giving away what he was so freely given, his own experience, strength and hope, was like a shot in the arm for the author, too. Nothing can be more gratifying and satisfying than doing something that may possibly save a life! Share your experience, strength and hope with people who need to hear it and feel it whenever you get the chance. You will never regret it, it will help your own heart and sobriety immensely, and you may even help steer someone away from drugs, alcohol, jails, institutions and death.