By Grayson Slusher
Transcend Seaside House Manager
Never would I have imagined being sober for over a year, much less working in a recovery home. I have had countless attempts and opportunities to achieve sobriety throughout the mere 15 sober livings and in-patient treatment centers I went through. Leading up to this final attempt at the seemingly impossible and unattainable gift of sobriety, things were not going well internally or externally. I found myself in an inconceivable environment, an environment involving used and dirty syringes, no running water or power, and feeling completely and utterly alone.
Oh, how different this was compared to the beautiful home in Las Vegas I grew up in. Oh, how different this life had been to the one my parents and I pictured for myself. “Why had I been dealt these cards, God,” I cried out. Little did I know, these cards have been a great blessing. I have acquired a tremendous amount of strength and knowledge having been where I was, at the lowest of the low, and working my way back up. This past provides me the opportunity to give hope, strength, and courage to the man or women who is still battling with their addiction. What a fulfilling life I have today. To be able to have the opportunity to watch people grow and overcome their addiction outweighs the satisfaction any materialistic item ever could.
The clarity of mind to be able to see and feel such pure satisfaction is highly unlikely when newly sober though. When I was newly sober, I sought the easiest and quickest fix to the unimaginable amount of pain I felt inside. The pain I was trying to avoid was masked with drugs and alcohol for years. This why I am such an advocate for sober living homes, particularly Transcend Recovery Community, a safe place where one will be surrounded by a caring staff and peers. Having been so distant and isolated from the real world, intoxicated by puzzling amounts of drugs and alcohol, it seemed almost impossible to think that I would be given the chance to gain the necessary tools to heal and reclaim my life.
Though my addiction was my problem behavior, there was an underlying matter at hand, a reason why I felt it necessary to impair myself to such an extent. Those internal issues were challenging for me to see on my own, which is why being in a sober living environment was ever more important for the success of my sobriety. I first entered sober living as a client with complete hopelessness and desperation, looking for a better way to live life. The inconceivable amount of pain I had caused to my family was disgusting, but was never enough to keep me sober. It was imperative for me to listen to someone else’s suggestions and directions initially. Realizing that my thinking was skewed and that I would achieve better results by listening to someone else’s direction is a key factor in how I got to where I am today. I may have had a wealth of knowledge in the world of sales and business, but I knew nothing in the world of staying sober.
Working in sober living with newly sober individuals reminds of me of my former self and the importance of a sober community. Every day I see something in a client that I have done, or in a position that I have been in. Every day I see these things and use it as an opportunity to be there for them and help them through it. My job as a sober living manager is stressful and draining at times, but the moment I get to see the light come on in a client’s eyes makes it all worth it. There is a true freedom this way of life has brought me. Service to others brings me a feeling inside I was endlessly searching for in drugs and alcohol, a feeling I never imagined was possible to have sober.
But, here’s the kicker: I must give away what was given to me, meaning I must be of service daily and I must remain as selfless as possible. My job as a house manager provides me an excellent opportunity to be of service to another person with addiction, and provides me with a fulfilling life in doing so. What is important to remember though, is that if I don’t take care of myself in my program, all other areas of my life will crumble and I will risk losing what I have worked so hard to achieve in sobriety. Also, I find myself much more useful to others when I am in an honorable place in my recovery.
Today, I love my life and the people in it. I have a spiritual practice and a God that is with me throughout every moment of every day. I’ve got friends and family who rely and depend on me. I’ve got a feeling inside of usefulness and purpose. Before getting sober none of these things were a reality nor did I think they would ever be possible. Before my recovery, my initial thought never would have been how I could help someone else and give freely of myself, but I’ve experienced remarkable results in doing so. Leading a life of service, rather than one of self-serving, has brought me limitless passion and happiness. Not every day is easy, but so long as I keep God close to me and put others well-being in front of my own happiness, I know I will get through it.
My past doesn’t define who I am today, rather, it allows me to help others define the life they want and the person they want to become in recovery.