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December 28, 2017



Writer Paulo Murillo

“I HAVE to get sober,” I told the program director at the Van Ness Recovery House back in the very beginning when I had a few days of sobriety/recovery.  And she told me that you don’t get sober because you HAVE to; you get sober because you WANT to.

The truths is, I didn’t know what wanted when I raised the white party flag and admitted complete total and utter defeat/surrender over drugs and alcohol.  I wish I could say I had some sort of plan or that I had a map leading the way into recovery, but my wants and my needs were all out of whack.  I didn’t know what I was doing.  All I knew is that I didn’t WANT to feel the way I was feeling anymore—yeah, I was beat up pretty badly physically, mentally and emotionally, but it was the spiritual suffering, which I sum up as that horrible empty void, and a continuous sinking feeling in my gut that made me feel unsafe at every turn in my life with no relief in sight—that feeling had me raising my hands in the air and saying, “Please.  No more.  I’m done.”

Then there were the cravings.  I’m talking about the obsession–the bondage to drugs and alcohol, which always led to self-betrayal.  I was like NO MORE. But no more would always turn into one more.  And it was ON!  I was Up and OUT!  Then I was down in the dumps!

Not to be dramatic, but I can’t believe that was over six years ago.  It seems like so long.  Then I find myself going, really? It’s only been six years?  Why does it feel like twelve?  And on certain days, I’m like, why does it feel like six days?

It is what it is.  I wouldn’t trade my worst day sober for my best day high or drunk any day.  NO fucking doubt.

I’m sorry–say what you will about sobriety, recovery, being clean, working a 12-step program, or believing in a Higher Power, but six years into it, I don’t have to spell it out for you … plainly and simply, being clean/sober/in a program/with a power greater than myself is so much better than being in that vicious cycle of on/up/out and then down in the dumps.  Sobriety may not look cool to you, it may not always seem fun, but speaking from my own experience, the more distance I put between me and that last nasty bump of crystal meth, as well as that last drink of alcohol, the more freedom I feel from the cravings/obsession/bondage/dependence to drugs and alcohol.

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I CELEBRATE SIX YEARS OF CONTINUOUS SOBRIETY TODAY PEOPLE!  It’s a fucking miracle!  You best believe I didn’t achieve this milestone alone.  Sooo many people and sooo many factors have tugged me along–all of which have nothing to do with me.   The honest to goodness truth is that my life is full today.  No matter how bad it gets, or how fearful I may be, I have a shit load of tools, a support group and a belief system that points me in the right direction, forever reminding me that everything will be OK.

Recovery/sobriety feels great.  Six years feels great.  But seriously, all I/we are ever given by the grace of Something Greater, is today. Whether you’re new, returning–whether you have 24 hours, 24 days, 24 months or 24 years, sobriety only happens one day at a time, just for today.  So keep coming back (that doesn’t mean you have to keep going out).  It works if you work it.  You’re worth it (grin).  Easy does it.  SO DO IT!!!  If not now, then when?

Thank you for my life.

My WANTS may not always be satisfied, but my NEEDS are being met easily and effortlessly today.







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About Paulo Murillo,

Paulo has been writing for the gay media for over 16 years. He made his debut as a columnist for FAB! Newspaper. He has written for LA Health News, IN Los Angeles, Frontiers and The Fight Magazine. He has been featured in The Bay Area Reporter, XY Magazine, Bay Windows, Windy Times, and Press Pass Q, He has been quoted in the pages of Edge Magazine, Gay & Lesbian Times, Seattle Gay News, Fuges, and in a shitload of online news outlets and blogs, thanks in large part to Rex Wocker’s Quote on Quote – Wockner Wire.

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