My name is Sumit. I'm a person in long term recovery and for me that means I haven't had a drink or used a drug since March 3, 2017. I'm grateful for every day since then.
Throughout my journey, I have learned a lot about myself and the disease of addiction. Where addiction taught me to bury and mask my feelings, recovery showed me I can reach out and get help. I have learned that internalizing or burying feelings creates significant health issues and fuels the fire of addiction. I learned that the appearance of strength can be a recipe for disaster - one that ultimately resulted in me wanting to end my own life in March of 2017.
The path to that day was marked with a pattern of numbing my feelings. For me, drinking and using weren’t the problem; they were the solution to the way I was feeling. They numbed me from reality. The feelings of shame, guilt, anxiousness and fear were blissfully taken away – but it was temporary. It was delaying the inevitable. My feelings got worse when I was not drinking or using. Each time added another layer of shame and guilt, which pushed me further down into the depths of my addiction. This is the vicious cycle. I had alienated myself from family and friends. I felt isolated and alone. I felt I couldn't reach out for help as I was too embarrassed of judgement. I could not sleep. My brain was constantly full of destructive thoughts. I knew I needed help – I just could not reach out for it. I lost hope. Life without hope is meaningless.
A life without hope means a false life built on appearances. I call it the perfect `Facebook Life`. To the outside, I looked composed; but on the inside, I was dead and hated myself. My employment and personal life suffered – I lost an opportunity to advance my career, and my wife left me, taking with her my two beautiful children. All of those material items I adored could not combat the sadness I felt when coming home to wasted potential and an empty home.
I finally had enough. As I stood on the balcony of a Vancouver hotel my choices became crystal clear. With the help of my friends and family, I finally realized the pain of the consequences I had endured in my addiction were enough to make a positive change.
I have been graced with so many gifts in my recovery. I have reconciled with my wife and have my two children back in my life full-time.
These gifts inspired me to create the LiveBIG Society. Through my work in this organization and through my supportive program of recovery, I am meeting hundreds of people with the same story, just different facts. I want to help people who face similar situations. I am hopeful that the perspective I have gained can be of assistance.
LiveBig stands for Live with Boundaries, Integrity and Gratitude. I did not live like this in my addiction. Boundaries are compassionate self-care. Integrity is acting the same way when no one is around. Gratitude is being thankful for what I have and not want I want.
Life has slowed down for me. The chaos I felt has dissipated. The first step is reaching out for help, individually or as a family. Through LiveBIG, we can help you find you the resources to start your new life. Please help us get people the treatment they need to give them back their hope.
Sumit Ahuja Founder, LiveBig Society