Michael J. Surdyka
During my early years in the Baltimore, Maryland area, I saw addiction manifest in various adverse ways: from seeing family members suffering, to witnessing the destruction of a close friends’ family, all while watching prominent members of the community fall victim and lose everything to this epidemic. No matter where I was or what I was doing, it seemed that addiction was plaguing everything around me. It wasn’t until my twenties that I experienced the devastating effects of addiction firsthand. A freak, unexpected car accident that almost killed me led to reconstructive surgery, and then to my dependence on prescription painkillers. The next few years were hell as I navigated the dark and dreary caverns of addiction. I achieved random bouts of sobriety; a year here, nine months there, but I never truly grasped the understanding of lifelong sobriety until I finally realized that the power to conquer addiction had been inside me all along.
I was raised to ask questions and to never just accept something as true simply because someone of authority said it. This served me extremely well on my road to freedom. During my time in rehab, I asked my counselors, “Why is this the formula for lasting sobriety when relapse rates are still so high?”, and I asked my fellow residents why and how they kept messing up their lives. From asking these questions I learned that recovery is different for everyone, and what works successfully for one person will probably not work for another. Additional research led me to the revelation that a person’s individuality has incredible power in terms of enduring sobriety. That lightbulb moment resonated with me, but I never studied it further in detail. However, after losing my third friend in as many years to drug overdoses, I became passionate and driven to determine why they couldn’t figure out sobriety before losing it all. My quest to find a formula for long-term recovery success involved talking with every former addict and alcoholic I knew, reading every case study, book, or article I could get my hands on, and then comparing and contrasting the similarities and differences they all shared. This research inadvertently became the outline for this tactical action guide; a combination of all the most effective commonalities, techniques, tools, strategies, AND the glue that holds it all together: individuality.
Thank you for all of your support. I hope this knowledge can provide the a-ha moment you have been searching for and finally instill this simple truth: if your recovery brings you genuine joy and is an extension of who you are personally, then sobriety will feel natural and much less demanding. I will do my best to answer questions or help jump-start this process of recovery in any way that I can.
Best of luck to all of you on this life-changing journey. Freedom is within reach!