I had never heard of the small town of Sebastopol, California until I was on my way there. On the morning of Friday on January 26 in 2023, I was in the car with my parents driving west to Sonoma County from Sacramento en route to my first stay in a residential rehab facility.
Clothes were hastily thrown into my bag. The hangover was hitting me hard from the night before. I had finally reached a breaking point. I could not go on like this. I could drink and use drugs no longer. I needed to get my life together without substances. But I could not do it on my own.
My name is Bob Sullivan and I am a recovering alcoholic-addict. I am 59 days clean and sober as I write this and I have a story of inspiration and hope to share with you about sobriety success.
Alcohol and drugs had ruined my life. But I did not want to do anything about it until I lost just about everything. I lost my car by totaling it and lost my license by receiving my second DUI in six years.
I lost my job for drinking during work hours and twice making a drunken scene in the office. I lost my girlfriend who could no longer trust me or give me anything more. I lost my circle of friends because I isolated myself and succumbed to my cravings.
I lost my family’s trust as I was so deep in denial that I had an inability to tell the truth about anything. Worst of all, I lost myself. I had become a different person. I could not look myself in the mirror and when I did, I did not recognize who was looking back at me.
The downward spiral accelerated until I had nowhere else to go. I finally listened to my parents who were urging me to enter rehab for weeks. I could not get clean and sober by myself despite my best efforts. My family even held an intervention for me one week before I was fired, urging me to go to Azure Acres in Sebastopol. But I refused.
So, I entered those doors to turn my life around on January 26th. I thought living under the same roof for 30 days and 30 nights with 25 or so other addicts and alcoholics would be an impossible task. That length of time seemed an eternity at first, but in reality, it was only the start of a very long journey.
My attitude changed within the first week as I fully committed to recovery and getting the most out of my stay at Azure Acres. Come the second week, the days were flying by too fast. I enjoyed my time there so much and wanted to get more out of the program so I added ten more days to may stay, spending 40 nights with all those wonderful alcoholics and addicts.
Since entering rehab, I have totally committed to sobriety and am a much happier person for it today. I found a community of like-minded individuals, my support system today.
I forged lasting friendships in rehab, learned about myself and my issues that led me to drink, learned from other people’s stories, and finally faced my fears without running away from my emotions.
I remained present and mindful each and every day. I participated in and attended every meeting, lecture, and group therapy session. I remained teachable throughout and exerted the maximum amount of effort so that I could in turn receive the maximum effect during my time there. I am so grateful I finally decided to go to rehab and live the life I was meant to live.
I am also extremely fortunate to have such loving and supportive parents who have stood by me despite everything I put them through. Today, I live in a sober living house in Midtown Sacramento after being discharged from Azure Acres on March 7th.
I recently started the 8-week Azure Acres intensive outpatient program in Sacramento that meets four times per week. I have attended a recovery meeting or an outpatient session everyday since I left those magical grounds at Azure.
I cannot say enough positive things about that facility where I spent 40 days. They have a truly caring staff up there, insightful counselors, and an outstanding program that taught me so much at that beautiful property nestled in the hills of Sonoma County.
In recovery, especially early on, one must get comfortable being uncomfortable. Therefore, I am doing all the things I would normally talk myself out of doing because they would make me feel uneasy.
But complacency is a killer. Recovering addicts and alcoholics can never think that we have this under control. I have sobered up before, remaining abstinent from alcohol for four whole years.
I even stayed clean and sober for a period of 10 months five years ago until I turned back to smoking weed. I was staying abstinent at the time, but I was not in recovery.
I am clean and sober today because I am willing and able to do everything that is suggested of me, which includes remaining abstinent from drugs and alcohol and getting to know myself and why I turned to these mind-altering substances so frequently. But mainly, I am doing this because I want to be happy and to do that, I must stay clean and sober and true to myself.
I have never lived in a sober living house before, but I am getting to know a great group of people who are very serious about their recoveries. I am forming new bonds and creating and expanding my support system everyday.
I am staying in touch with the friends I met during rehab. I used to be an isolated drinker and user, but now I am quite sociable, coming out of my shell and getting out of my own head. I am learning to forgive myself for the mistakes I made in the past so I can love myself and find lasting happiness.
Recovery is a full-time job for me today as I am getting my life back on track. Staying clean and sober is a daily chore, a lifelong task. One cannot do it one day and then get to it later that week.
It takes a concerted effort. It takes reaching out to your support system on good days and bad days. It requires utmost honesty with yourself and others. It takes a willingness to change everything in your life. But most of all, it takes forgiving yourself so you can live in the moment. One day at a time. Just for today.
I am so grateful I made the decision to go to rehab and embark upon the long road of recovery. It takes quite an effort, but anyone can do it if they really want it. I hope my story helped you in some way. We are all in this together. You are far from alone when it comes to achieving sobriety and living a sober life long-term!