Alright Ritchie, break it down for us! How'd you do it?
"When I think back to almost a year ago, I was more lost than I have ever been. Pacing around an empty apartment, chain-smoking cigarettes, trapped in a flurry of crazy thoughts and completely cut off from the rest of the world. This was the first time in my life that suicide actually sounded like a good idea. Today, it's hard to believe how much has changed and how much peace I have found; at the time, I was convinced there was no way anything could be different, and that life would be a never ending cycle of depression and medicating that hopelessness with booze and pills.
In that moment, the first spark of willingness showed itself to me; I called my mom and said I needed help. A day later, I was on a plane from Cleveland, OH to Austin, and so began a new journey, starting in treatment at Recovery Unplugged. That first spark of willingness lead to more sparks throughout the course of treatment - I found myself open to abandoning everything I thought I knew about myself, about how life works and especially how I viewed god. I once thought I had everything figured out, but these old conclusions never brought me anything but suffering. So I decided to surrender to the possibility that maybe there was another way, and I gave myself the chance to have a new experience.
But what really inspired this surrender to try something different was my community; since I've been in Austin, I've encountered so many amazing people with stories just like mine who today are happy and at peace with themselves. What I see in my family of recovering addicts and alcoholics gives me hope that I can also find that same peace and joy. It's in my community that I started encountering faith in this whole new way of life, because I saw that it worked for so many others, and that's where I started to encounter god in a way I never had before.
I am so grateful for my new family today at Recovery Unplugged and in the rooms - this entire community has shown me it's possible to discover a life of meaning, peace and happiness. And so I started to listen to all y'all, share struggles and hopes with you, to walk through fear together, take suggestions from y'all and do my best to help and be helped. And as long as I continue to do the next right thing in the next moment available to me, I have this crazy sense that I'm going to be alright. Sometimes that next right thing looks like giving someone a hug or listening to someone share their struggles. Other days it looks like cleaning a toilet at my sober house with piss on the seat god constantly gives me opportunities to be helpful. And as long as I do my best to live in god's stream and stay plugged in with my sisters and brothers on this road, I find peace. And that's a miracle. As long as I'm open and willing to try something different, this shit works - it really does. "