Recovering works, and work can help us recover.
Looking back, I think I’ve been an addict my whole life, even way before I started drinking. When I was a kid, I was emotionally dependent on food. I lost the weight by the time I became a teen, but by age 12, I’d moved on to cigarettes. By the time I was 17, I’d replaced the occasional beer with binge drinking vodka every weekend. I lived this way for 10 years before I finally got the help I needed to live a clean, sober life.
I’ve gotten an incredible amount of support throughout my journey, but I don’t think I could have ever gotten and stayed sober if I hadn’t discovered my unknown passion: carpentry.
After I left rehab, I was given the opportunity to be a carpenter’s assistant through a friend of a friend. I knew nothing about carpentry, but my first day on the job, I became enchanted by the trade. My boss took me on as an apprentice, and within a few months, I was working on my own projects with the company. About 6 months ago (and about 7 into my sobriety), I was offered a full-time position as a carpenter. My boss told me that although he thinks I have a natural talent for the craft, it was my hard work that convinced him I was right for the job.
I never would have found carpentry without my sobriety, and yet, being a carpenter has helped me stay sober. Learning something new, working with my hands, creating beautiful masterpieces, and filling my days with satisfying work has kept me away from a life of drunken emptiness.
Although there are a lot of ways people learn to stay sober, for me, it was working with my hands. And I think anyone who finds a career or project to work on that brings them a sense of peace can find the same sense of stability that I have found.