The Book of Life – Sobriety Version

Growing up, I wandered around life thinking everyone around me was given a book to life and my copy got lost in the mail. I was a horrible decision maker and completely flawed as a human being, but aren’t we all? It wasn’t like I was an outcast or a weirdo, but nothing really brought me true happiness.

I sought trouble, and my idea of a good time was stealing, fighting, disobeying teachers, sneaking out of my house, and lighting things on fire. I didn’t enjoy school and I was often scolded by my teachers for not paying attention. I enjoyed playing sports and was good at them, but my size and attitude kept me off school teams. My life story is an interesting one and I finally found the book of life after nineteen years of living.

Drug addiction can lead to a number of mental and physical disorders. If the addiction is left untreated, drug use will continue. It will actually get worse over time. 

Of course, nobody actually receives a book of life when they are children, but most children have no problem making the right decisions. I believe that we are all born with the ability to recognize what is right and wrong, but the ultimate decision is up to the individual. As we grow up and suffer negative consequences for making the wrong decisions, we often learn from our mistakes. These lessons help us make the right decisions going forward. In my youth, I never learned from my mistakes, and it ultimately led me down a very dangerous path.

Experimenting with drugs and alcohol

Knowing full well that drugs and alcohol were bad for me, I still decided to experiment. I started with weed. The first time I ever smoked weed I thought that marijuana was what I was missing my whole life. The book of life was finally in my hands and it was in the shape of a burning joint. Music sounded way cooler, food tasted amazing, everyone was a comedian, and my nerves were calm while I was high. The first time I got high, I thought it was the greatest thing that ever happened to me.

Escalating drug use

The entirety of my teenage years was spent high or drunk one way or another. After I realized how great weed was, I wasn’t done searching. By the time I was nineteen, I had basically tried everything with the exception of crack cocaine and heroin. As long as I didn’t abuse heroin or crack, I wasn’t a drug addict, or so I told myself.

Meanwhile, I was popping pills every day, smoking weed every night, and usually drinking myself to sleep. I showed every sign of addiction possible, but I was still in denial. I couldn’t stop using no matter how hard I tried. I went to any lengths to get my drugs and I had completely isolated myself from everyone I loved.

The progression of addiction

Once my disease got bad enough I inevitably ended up in one of those alcohol detox centers. And after my time at the center, I willingly went to rehab. It was the best decision I ever made because drug rehab was where I received the book of life that I had been searching for my whole life.

The fellowship of AA

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism) was the answer to all my problems. It is my version of the book of life. It has the wisdom beyond any person I have ever met and detailed instructions on how to live.

And guess what? The Big Book is based entirely on doing the right thing and being a better person. This book has brought so much happiness to my life and I believe that it can help anyone else struggling with addictions as well.

A pathway to sobriety

This blue book has taught me how to build valuable relationships, live a spiritual life, learn from my mistakes, and grow as a person. When I started drinking and using drugs, I was looking for an answer or a Bible to live my life by, but all I found was misery. It turns out that my Bible to live by was right under my nose this entire time. So, if you are struggling with an addiction, try something new and consider reading the Big Book.


About the author: Ben Emerling enjoys writing, helping people recover from drug and alcohol abuse, and playing and watching sports. Ben works for Addiction Network.

9 thoughts on “The Book of Life – Sobriety Version

  1. I’m happy that The Big Book provides the answers for yourself (and many others!) but sadly I have a son who is still on the roller-coaster of detox and rehab. He is currently using and is pretty messed up. When he is clean and sober he is an amazing young man. When he’s using I don’t recognize him and fear we are losing him… anyway, I ramble on. Your post provides hope and for that I thank-you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing your story. I speak to so many mothers like yourself. Please, do not blame yourself. Most likely, he was born with a predisposition to addiction and nothing can change that. If you ever need someone to talk to … I keep my cell phone on 7 days a week 949-307-2880

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What an interesting piece!

    I too felt for the longest time as if everyone else had an instruction manual that I was missing… I always felt like a martian in the playground.


  4. Interesting analogy! I used the same once I started outpatient therapy for alcohol. AA ultimately wasn’t the answer for me, but SMART recovery, Refuge Recovery, and LifeRing are now essential parts of my sobriety. Good on you for finding your manual!


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