by Chris Freeman at PHRC
Dan's Note: For me, it was incredibly freeing finally admitting to myself that I was a person who can't handle drugs or alcohol. When I'm out and about and people offer me a drink, the ice-breaker usually comes with this statement of 100% honesty with a splash of humor: "No thank you. I'm allergic. I break out in handcuffs." Chris from Texas shares another perspective for people that is helpful: we've won a lottery. We're part of a greater community of those who choose to live a different life, despite our condition. This is a really fun read — I hope you enjoy it too.
If it is true that 10% of our population has a propensity to alcoholism and/or drug addiction, then if you are one of the folks that happen to be in treatment, a recovery environment, or one who lives in long-term recovery, then, congratulations: You have won the Lottery!
It goes like this…
I live in Houston, Texas and within the Greater Houston area there are approximately 6,220,000 people (plus or minus a few undocumented folks, living and getting along with their lives.)
Ten percent of this number is 622,000.
Wow, that is a lot of alcoholics and addicts running around.
Lets try and think of it this way. If each possible alcoholic and drug addict spends just $20 bucks a day on their drinking and using, that means: 622,000 x $20 = $1,244,000 each day.
Then, $1,244,000 x 7 days of the week = $8,708,000.
Finally, $8,708,000 x 52 weeks of the year (no time off for weekends and holidays) = $452,816,000!
That final number is only good if we assume our alcoholic and junkie friends only spend $20 dollars a day. I can attest to personal experience that only spending $20 would just be a start of my day, when I was out there smoking crack, shooting dope and drinking whiskey. Any good alky or druggie would get upset at only having a twenty.
When we spend $50 a day the amount is a mere $11,320,400,000.
That is 11 billion, 320 million, and 4 hundred-thousand. Whew. That’s a truck load…
Back to winning the lottery…I’m living in a recovery-residence in Houston, Texas. It is a very nice, well-furnished home with plenty of space, 8000 square feet of living space to move around in. We have room for about 23-24 men who come to us to regain or renew their sobriety. The house is considered to be a well structured environment, safe and secure, and which promotes recovery through a Twelve Step process.
I can absolutely say for a fact that I did nothing to deserve such a wonderful existence. Truth is that I deserved a 8x12 pen with steel curtains and cement carpenting. I deserve to sleep with an itchy blanket on a green three-inch prison mattress, all while resting my head with a nasty pillow.
The toilet here at my sober house is not a stainless steel commode/sink/water faucet combo. I actually get to drink coffee that is not just instant with warm water and no sugar or cream. I get to use a real knife and fork when I sit down at the wooden table in the dining room to eat my dinner. I can go outside and look up in the sky any time I wish. I can see the stars at night and the clouds and sun in the day. I can smell the freshly cut grass and can pet the house-dog, Dee Dee.
If 622,000 people around here have a problem with drugs and alcohol, then I'm just one man out of 622,000 other human being who struggle.
To end up with this life that I have is truly a gift—it's like winning the lottery. When I open my eyes each morning I never fail to forget what life I really deserve. If there were justice in the world, it surely would not have put me here. I was given an abundance of grace and mercy and for that I'm most grateful.
Thank God, I did not get what I deserved!
About the Author
Chris L. Freeman
Chris is the Recovery Program Coordinator and web-guru extraordinaire at the Power House Recovery Center, a sober-living environment located in Houston, Texas.