My name is Tyler, and I am in long term recovery from alcoholism and addiction. This is a significantly shortened rendition of this wild ride I like to call life. But before we get into all of that, let’s start at the top.
I grew up in two loving households surrounded by affection, care, and compassion. I am the oldest of four and spent my childhood days playing sports, hanging out with friends, and watching Saturday morning cartoons. I was the loud kid in class, some would say a class clown, and would do whatever it took to get a laugh out of somebody. I grew up wanting to be an NBA player. Unfortunately, my physical build didn’t match my dreams, so I switched my focus to sports broadcasting. I attended summer camp as a child, where I learned valuable life skills like building fires, leadership, and consuming as much candy as physically possible without getting sick. My parents provided me with everything I needed and more, setting me up for success.
But you see, alcoholism and addiction don’t care about any of that. It is a ruthless disease that affects individuals and families all across this country regardless of education, cultural background, socio-economic status, etc. As soon as alcohol and drugs entered my system for the first time, I was off to the races. I had arrived. Nothing else in my life mattered. The closest people in my life, the ones that cared about me the most, were the ones I pushed away the furthest. School was of no concern, sports were entirely out of my life, and friends were slowly disengaging with my erratic behaviour.
There is no cure for alcoholism and addiction, but there are tools to help manage it. Life got bad enough that I was willing to hear what options were available to me. There are always people who are eager to help. Those same people I tried so hard to push away were the first ones to be there for me when I reached out. I got sober when I was 17, and thanks to my support network, I have been sober ever since. I recently finished my undergraduate degree and switched my focus from a career in sports broadcasting to a career in addiction counselling.
Life today is nothing short of a miracle. It’s not always sunshine and rainbows, but that isn’t what life’s about. It’s about enjoying the good times with the people you love and leaning on those people when life’s throwing you curveballs. There is always a solution, always a way out. Recovery not only gave me my life back, but it allowed me to have a life beyond my wildest dreams.