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How I've stayed sober for 14 years and tips to help you along your journey

Updated: Mar 16, 2022

Nobody wakes up one day and says “Hey, I think I want to become an addict today.” The addicts you see walking the streets, the addicts you don’t see that are right in front of you are just like you and me. Some of us are more susceptible to addiction than others and by teaching the younger generation we can help to slow the spread of addiction. Telling kids to just not do it is not enough, and if you think your 10 year old is too young to learn about drugs I have a newsflash for you. I’ve listened to more than 20 podcast episodes where people tried their first drug at 10. You might ask yourself why do people do drugs? What makes them try it their first time? For some it’s just trying to fit in. For the people that are trying it at 10 is because something traumatic has happened in their short life. Trauma isn’t always sexual abuse or physical abuse, it can be they constantly see their parents fighting or their parents pay them zero attention. It can be that something is going on at school. Kids act out in many different ways, so for parents paying close attention to their children and when they see behavior that is not normal for their child they address it immediately.

Education is going to play a key role in preventing future addicts.

As someone who has 14 years of recovery I constantly ask myself why was I able to get clean? How did I do it and not my friends? Why did one of my longtime friends die last year of an overdose? What’s different about me and my story? Those are the questions I have been feverishly asking myself this past year.

When I was released from jail I knew that I had two choices. The first would be to go back to living the life of a drug addict or I could do everything physically possible to stay clean and turn my life around. I was facing 23 years in prison and I knew after just 30 days in the county jail there was NO WAY IN HELL I was going to go to prison. I chose the latter. Others have had the same fate and still they weren’t able to turn their lives around and get sober. So, what’s so different about me?

Let me tell you everything that worked for me back in 2007 and has worked for me still to this day. You might want to grab your favorite drink (non alcoholic of course) and a hearty snack because this is going to be jam packed with valuable information. You will want to be well nourished to soak it all in.

My top tips for your first month in recovery:

  1. Get rid of your cell phone. Your phone is full of numbers that don’t serve any purpose in your life anymore.

  2. Go and get a new phone. Only add the people that support you in your recovery.

  3. Go get a job! (if you don’t have one) You need money to start taking care of yourself.

  4. Call family members that you have hurt during your destructive time. Apologize for everything and tell them you will make it up to them. (This is very important. You want to start building back these vital relationships.)

  5. Start an at home exercise routine. It doesn’t have to be an hour long, just get your body moving. (Check out YouTube for some easy beginner workout routines.)

  6. Get yourself some new clothes. Even if they are from Goodwill. Having new clothes always makes me feel good and I know they will make you feel good as well.

  7. Start eating food that nourishes your body. I know it’s more affordable to buy fast food or eat PB&J’s, but that stuff does nothing for your health. It’s time to start taking better care of yourself and that starts with what you are eating.

  8. Drug tests- Doing this every Friday held me accountable. I want you to purchase a drug test every Friday and have one of your supporters monitor it while you take it. (Not literally, you know what I mean) This is good to keep you on track, but it also shows others how serious you are about your sobriety.

  9. Journaling! Get yourself a nice journal and set aside at least 30min a day to write. During the first month you’re going to have many feelings and writing serves as a great release.

  10. Start reading. It doesn’t matter what you read, just start. There’s nothing better than getting lost in an awesome book. (I love anything James Patterson. For my ladies- Try the Womens Murder Club series by James Patterson.. For my gent’s- try the Lee Child Jack Reacher series.)

*I have an incredibly supportive sister and I have to say she was my number one support system despite all the horrible things I did to her. She believed in me when nobody else did. Her letter was the first letter I received in jail and I wish I would have kept it. Finding someone who rallies for you is going to be the greatest gift you can receive at this stage. This could be your mother, brother, best friend, dad or someone you meet at a meeting. Don’t ever take their support for granted. They’ll be there when the times get tough.

(I repaid all the money that I stole from my sister in 2014. It took me 7 years but being late is better than never.)

Getting sober isn’t as easy as snapping your fingers like some would like to think. It takes hard work and pure determination. You have to want it so badly you are willing to go to any lengths to reach sobriety and true peace of mind.

What keeps me sober to this day is looking at all the beautiful things in my life. Had I still been a drug addict I wouldn’t be married. I wouldn’t have a beautiful home with two sweet dogs that I love dearly. I wouldn’t have a job that supports me and my family. Most importantly I wouldn’t have the love and trust from my family. I went from being the family member that nobody calls to the family member they call first when they need help with anything. I have been able to build a life that I am truly proud of. I worked so hard to get here and there is nothing in this world that could get me to go back to that life.

You might be in the midst of your addiction reading this and thinking that this all sounds nice, but how are you supposed to do this? You can do it if you take that first step. Admit you have a problem and reach out for help. I want you to release any guilt or shame you have about your addiction. Guilt and shame will keep you in a loop of constant struggle. Every person on this earth struggles with something. Your problems are no greater than anyone else’s. Your worth is no less than the person sitting next to you. It doesn’t matter your situation, whether you’ve dropped out of high school and live in a shelter or you’ve graduated college to go on and work at a big law firm, you matter. I know asking for help is hard. I struggled with it so many times. It always felt so damn scary. What I realize now is had I asked for help I might not have had a police chase that landed me in jail for 30 days. I might have gone to rehab at that time. It might have had the same effect and I would be writing this to you without a criminal history that I will carry for the rest of my life. Simply put, asking for help quite honestly might save your life.

I have a free support group that I would love for you to join. Together we can build a community that supports one another on their journey to courage and ultimately recovery.

Shine Bright,


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2 commentaires

Ocassama Hamilton
Ocassama Hamilton
15 oct. 2021

Your story is awesome, thanks for being so transparent. Stories like these change lives. Keep doing what your doing! Great testimony

Emily Souther
Emily Souther
15 oct. 2021
En réponse à

Thank you so much Cassy. This means the world to me.

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