Leaving a Legacy of Sobriety

Whether or not you know it, you are building a legacy. If you were to die today and could read your obituary, what would it say? Author Jim Rohn once said that the legacy we leave is part of the ongoing foundations of life. Every day that you are alive, you write another line of your legacy. You decide if it is going to be positive or negative. Even if you’ve made mistakes in the past, those mistakes do not define you.

Now this much is certain: everyone wants to leave a positive legacy for future generations. Your legacy is something can be something much bigger than you. It has the potential to live on and impact many other lives. When you are in recovery, you have the potential to choose a legacy of sobriety instead of slipping into addictive behavior of the past. There is no doubt that your actions (and choices) have the most impact on those in your family. Both genetics and home environment play a large part in addictions such as alcoholism. According to the National Institute of Health, researchers believe a person’s risk increases if he or she is in a family with the following difficulties: an alcoholic parent is depressed or has other psychological problems, both parents abuse alcohol and other drugs, the alcohol abuse of the parents is severe and conflicts lead to aggression and violence in the family. [1]

Here are some ways which sobriety leaves a legacy:

You Make the Choice to Be the Best Possible Version of Yourself

By choosing to remain sober instead of falling back on old habits, you also choose to be healthy. Not just physically healthy but also mentally healthy. This change allows you to pursue an entirely new lifestyle. Instead of spending your time getting drunk or buzzed, now you can be present and fully aware of what is going on around you. This also means no more blackouts or hangovers. Sure you will face temptation at times, but you have a support network around you to help you in times of need. Best of all, now you can be a better parent, spouse or friend as you are no longer under the influence.

Use Your Sober Life to Help Others with Addiction

Once you are sober, you can turn your negative experience with addiction and substance abuse into a positive by helping other addicts. For example, if you are an alcoholic, you may decide to speak with incoming freshman at your local college to warn them about dangerous and unsafe behavior related to alcohol. You may decide to serve others as a sponsor in Alcoholics Anonymous or be a mentor to a friend in need. You understand the challenges firsthand that other alcoholics face, so you can provide valuable insight and knowledge to help others with their disease.

Other family members may struggle with the same addiction you do, as addiction often is hereditary. Maybe your grandfather or father or mother has struggled with alcohol abuse for years but never brought the problem to light. You can be supportive and encouraging to any others in need and also receive support. Al-Anon calls alcoholism a family disease because of how it impacts the entire family. When you stay clean and live a life of sobriety, this only encourages others to carry it forward. Instead of building a legacy as an addict, you can be known as someone who got help and then provided it to others in need.

Get the Help You Need to Recover

If you are struggling with alcohol abuse right now, please know you are not alone. Research has shown that alcohol dependence and alcohol abuse are among the most common mental disorders in the general population, with about eight percent of the adult population suffering from alcohol dependence and five percent from alcohol abuse.[2] If you call our helpline you can get the help you need with your problem.

Remember, recovery is a step-by-step process and does not happen by accident. Even if you have relapsed, please know it is not too late to get back on the right path. As you move forward in your sobriety, you will continue to find clarity as to how you want to reshape your legacy. Make the intentional choice to step away from the drink and pursue a healthy life. The counselor you speak to has been professionally trained in the area of substance abuse. He or she will be glad to answer your questions and provide you with any information you need. If you would like to know more about treatment and what that entails, the counselor will be glad to help with that as well. Start writing a new legacy for yourself today.


[1] http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/FamilyHistory/famhist.htm A Family History of Alcoholism: Are You At Risk?

[2] http://psychcentral.com/lib/alcoholism-and-its-treatment/ Introduction to Alcoholism. Mascott, Cynthia.

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