Along with the guilt, shame and fear I felt when I finally surrendered to the truth about my addictions — I felt lost and alone.

Little did I know how everything in my life would evolve for the best. Maybe it was a combination of my innocence and ignorance — I knew absolutely nothing about recovery.

As I began to feel more comfortable, and a ‘part of’ — men and women with way more years sober than I ever thought possible, would tell me to “stick with the winners.” I thought it meant, look for those who had a better car, clothes or job than I did. I wanted those things, but that wasn’t the point.They meant, the winners were those who put their recovery first.

Sobriety was no guarantee I would have have more money or a better job. The guarantee was, if I was willing to do ‘the work’, follow suggestions, listen, and trust the process, the gifts of recovery would reveal themselves.

I’ve been blessed with more than I ever imagined, and I am not talking ‘stuff’. I’m talking about integrity, honesty and commitment. I’m talking about the men and women who ‘walk the talk’ and share their hope and experiences with me.

A few weeks ago, one of my Winners, a very dear friend passed away. He was sober over 37 years — someone I respected, admired and learned from. 

When my husband Bill died, he helped me during the difficult months that followed. He listened, shared his wisdom and checked in on my well-being often.

I am very saddened by his passing and extremely grateful for his friendship. These are the priceless relationships, the gifts; the kind I would have never known in the throes of my addiction.

Stick with the winners!