Lesson from addiction: ‘Every moment in time that we are alive and well is a miracle’

Indiana University student Jacob Desmond discusses his recovery from addiction to help draw attention to the toll addiction levies on people of all ages. Young and enthusiastic college students are not immune.

A candlelight vigil is scheduled for 6 p.m. tonight at IU Bloomington’s Whittenberger Auditorium in remembrance of people who died or whose lives have been affected by “alcohol- and drug-related poisonings, injury, overdose or addiction.”

Sponsored by OASIS, Amethyst House, Centerstone’s Recovery Engagement Center and Stepping Stones, the vigil represents a coming together of community and campus organizations to help students and non-students alike deal with consequences of addiction. More information is available at OASIS.

Jacob Desmond

Jacob Desmond

Jacob Desmond

I have been sober since July 1, 2013; I was 19 years old at that time. My life in recovery did not start until I was about 90 days sober. Being that young, being sober, and knowing nothing about a sober lifestyle had me thoroughly confused each day of my new sober life.

I went to a treatment center in the middle of nowhere Tennessee for 33 days and was still extremely confused when I got out. I later went to a men’s recovery house close to downtown Indianapolis; this is where my life in recovery took shape. I was introduced to a spiritual advisor who knew much more about staying sober than I did. I have stayed in touch with this man till this day and we have watched each other grow. It was very difficult being new in sobriety and being put in these foreign situations.

From a scientific and psychological standpoint your brain is still very unbalanced. I began to realize that I had these real emotions but I could not run from them by using drugs and alcohol. My emotions were very real and very powerful — it took a while to settle them down and understand why emotions arise and what triggers these emotions. The first 150 days of sobriety were absolutely the hardest and I choose not to go through that again.

One thing that is extremely beneficial that I have learned in recovery is to stay in the moment. Every moment in time that we are alive and well is a miracle and that’s where we have to stay. Being in the moment helps people who aren’t drug addicts and alcoholics. It helps you not to dwell on the past nor to stress about the future, knowing that all we have is this moment in time to better ourselves.

Through this process a copious amount of change has occurred. I thoroughly care about human kind. I clean up after myself. I do not steal. I take responsibility. I recycle — this list could go on and on and I would still sell myself short. It was extremely difficult starting off getting sober and watching my friends go back to college. I felt as if I was missing out, little did I know how much love I would receive in my life from staying sober and doing the next right thing. Early on I struggled very hard to have fun because of this feeling of missing out. Today I go wherever I please in this world due to the people I have in my life and the progress I have made on myself. I have been to many concerts and a few festivals while in recovery to see the music I love and spend time with my closest friends who have grown with me in recovery.

There is a plan for each and every one of us and some simply need some pain and a wake-up call to recognize their own destiny.

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