This post is part 3 of a 4-part series featuring the unique stories of persons in recovery. Read more about their struggles and victories as they learn to live sober again.
Q: How many years have you been sober, and how did drinking affect your life?
A: I never thought I would be that guy who would turn to drugs to quiet his mind. I never thought I would be that guy who would turn into a monster to feed his addiction. Yet I became that guy.
But I also remember a time during my active addiction when I never thought that I would be the guy I am today. One who lives a life clean and sober for almost 5 years now, and who now only chases after his dreams instead of his drug of choice.
Reflecting on the wreckage of my past brings up some painful emotions. I have suffered broken bones from car accidents and have family trust issues and financial distresses. But the major blow came in 2006. Then, I was just three minutes from losing my life to a heroin overdose. If I didn’t have that one person fearlessly searching for me that night, I’d be dead.
Q: Has recovery been an ongoing struggle? How do you cope with it?
A: Recovery is a lot of work. But so was feeding my addiction. I have learned that my addiction can only win if I allow it. The addiction is still lurking behind the shadows. It’s there – I feel it.
Being a person in recovery is the most difficult thing I have ever had to understand. Learning to live a life without the use of drugs is not easy; my pursuit to stay clean is something I wish upon no other human being. But that’s the beauty of recovery. This is where I find strength. I did it! And though doing it, I have found my passion and a purpose that fuels my soul and enriches my life.
I love speaking professionally to groups of individuals and serving as a source of inspiration through my story and message. This also helps my sobriety. When I speak to students at schools and parents at community events it is a magical experience. Sharing my story of hope and inspiration is what I was meant to do. I cannot imagine doing anything else.
Self-confidence, strength, wisdom, and self-love are all mine today. These were not traits I grew up with, yet I found them through the desire to be healthy. They came from a place of wanting more out of life. I have worked hard to earn this place, and thanks to my recovery I am creating the life that I truly desire.
Q: Do you feel like you are missing anything now that you aren’t
A: I am not missing out on anything. My recovery from substance abuse has taken a lot of effort. I had to examine my character defects, find the strength to face them, and make changes that ultimately improved my life. I knew I had to confront these things to stay clean. For example, I knew I no longer wanted to be the manipulator I became to support my addiction, so I took a look at that way of thinking and worked to become more sincere and honest.
Every time I look into the eyes of a stranger and share my story with them we make a connection. They may sense I am extending a hand to them and see that they are not alone on this journey. To make them feel at ease about the uncomfortable subject of destructive behaviors. To provide them with the message that obstacles are opportunities in disguise. For me, doing this was once a dream and now it is a reality.
My accomplishments include creating a book, CD, and developing relationships with many substance abuse-related organizations in the country. I am a motivational speaker, have developed programming for anti-bullying and substance abuse with other professionals, am a life coach for teens, and creator of the We Are One 1-4-1 program. This all started, by the way, with less than a dollar in my pocket. Remember, I had spent it all on drugs for 15 years.
As the years continue and my days in sobriety increases I have now become the person I had always felt I could be. Gone are those words that others used to describe me — drug addict, thief, broken man. I’ve replaced those words with recording artists, role model, author, and professional. And I did it by avoiding the excuses, and jumping into learning and exploration. For me it was the only way.
Q: How did sobriety shape your outreach you are involved in?
A: Sobriety has awakened the dreams within and allowed me to convey the importance of achieving them to those I meet. I wish I would have understood its significance sooner. It has brought clarity, provided fuel for pursuit, and shaped me in unfathomable ways.
Super Star, who was known as Kris Kancler before he legally changed his name, is a motivational speaker, recording artist, author, and life coach for teens. Learn more about him at www.sobersuperstar.com.