I was asked by my counselor Don Davis to write a request for early graduation from the SMART Continuing Care program. In order to do this properly, I need to provide a little background.
Since 2003, I have been on probation for almost 7 years. For 70% of the last decade, I have been under supervision of Travis County, and you would think that the fines, classes and conditions of probation would have been enough to make me change. At least change a little?
The fact is, I didn't want to. I knew I was smarter than most people on probation...that I knew what I was doing, and that Travis County wouldn't put me in jail...they needed my money. What had to happen was I had to fail enough, to screw up enough, to shatter all denial that I had about my addictions and the overall path of self-destruction I was on.
Receiving a public intoxication arrest at the end of June 2012 and then being chewed out for my self-centered awful behavior by a dear friend less than a week later were the catalysts for turning everything around. I made the decision to quit drinking. Not just stop drinking until I completed probation, but for good.
It was a few weeks afterwards that I found out I needed to turn myself in due to a motion to revoke probation. I had been living in San Antonio for over a year. One of the best decisions I've ever made was to refrain from drinking or drugs before doing so. Most people would say it wouldn't matter, because you're going to be locked up. But by staying by my commitment to be sober, I went to Travis County Jail with the right frame of mind and right motivation.
I stayed in county jail for 6 weeks, and then I went to SMART for the 140 days. Because of that initial decision for change, and because I'd been to treatment before, I wasn't starting from the bottom. I already had a foundation of what recovery is, so I focused my entire time at SMART towards changing my life and relapse prevention.
I left the SMART facility on March 11th, and I moved into a sober house. I obtained a breathalizer, attended class on Mondays and went to meetings.
That's what it shows, on paper, that I've done. This is what else I've done since entering Travis County Jail:
I've changed just about everything in my life. I read 30+ books in 6 months, and I read at least an hour every night. I'm feeding myself spiritually for the first time through meditation and studying eastern philosophy and religion. I'm eating like a normal person, not like a college freshman. I skateboard everywhere as it is my main transportation, along with Capital Metro. I'm wearing a nicotine patch daily as I'm quitting smoking for good. I exercise daily. I write. I write a lot.
I have a renewed motivation to be genuinely a better person, and not because I "have to", but because I need to. It's been "all about me" for a long time. I am working every day to improve and be a better person. To be better, you have to get out of yourself...show concern for others and for the world. I want to grow every day and avoid being complacent. I like the new me, and I have to continue to work on myself in order to avoid old habits which could lead me back to the old me.
I enjoy Don's class on Monday night. It's healthy to review and share your week, and then become renewed for the upcoming one. However, it is time for the next stage for me. It's growth, and I will need to replace the Monday class with a meeting and do my own weekly review and goal-making session.
I wanted to communicate that I'm on a new path, and that it's no longer lip-service. I would like to request that I be allowed to complete Continuing Care early and proceed to my next life stage.