There was a time in my life where alcohol and drugs consumed me. I cared about chasing the next buzz day in and day out. I wanted to disconnect from reality and lived in a constant state of fear—fear of not getting what I wanted or losing what I already had.

This took me out of being present in my life, showing up in my life, being the daughter, sister, and friend I was put here to be. My addictions put up a wall that separated me from the rest of the world.

I lived with this tunnel vision keeping my world quite small. This emotional and physical void within me kept me alone and isolated. Alcohol and drugs did the trick for some time. Then they stopped working.

So at the age of 25, I made the decision to get sober.

Here are 5 reasons I chose to get sober. I hope it offers some advice and insight for anyone who is struggling with addiction or knows someone who is.

1. I value the present.

Holding onto pain from the past or anxiety about the future is what my addictions thrived in. The present seemed scary. I didn’t think I could handle reality. I didn’t think I was strong enough or worthy enough. That is directly related to the self-sabotaging and destructive nature of addiction. Presence is possible by completely surrendering to what is and letting go of the destructive coping mechanisms that may be holding you back.

2. I want to give and receive love.

My addictions put up an internal brick wall and I could not tap into the light and love within. I was in constant pain and felt terminally unique and alone in the world. I did not feel worthy of love from others so I pushed them away. I ended relationships left and right and didn’t allow people into my life. Now I see that I have the ability to give love and it feels good! It connects me with a greater purpose and gives me a sense of connection and belonging.

3. I want to show up for others.

I didn’t understand what this meant for a long time. I lived in my own world that just revolved around me. It was all about what I could get from others. Now, I get to truly be there and be present with others. Maybe it’s helping a friend move or being at a birthday dinner. Either way, these are acts of service and bring us closer to others.

4. I want to embrace honesty and openness.

Addiction fostered a double life for me. From the outside, it looked like everything was okay; yet inside, I was in pain and suffering. I didn’t want to show this to anyone else. I was scared and in a constant state of fear. I don’t have to do that anymore. I can open up to another person, express myself, and communicate. It’s not always easy but it feels good.

5. I couldn’t balance the chaos anymore.

The lies and manipulation that consumed my days were exhausting. I was so scared to commit to anyone or anything, so I lived in this constant state of shame and guilt. The chaos perpetuated this cycle and left me feeling drained. By living authentically, I can put my true self out to the world. This is energizing and stimulating.

No matter what you are going through, remember that you are not alone. You have an infinite amount of strength, wisdom, love, and light inside you. Don’t let the power you harness within be taken away from another person, place, or thing.

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