In 1831 Abraham Lincoln failed in business, his fiancée died in 1835 and he had a nervous breakdown in 1936. In 1860, Lincoln was elected as the 16th President of the United States and he was able to accomplish some amazing things while in office. Success to him did not come easy it required patience and ambition. Lincoln believed in himself and had the willingness to try again even when the odds were against him.

Dream a little dream

The experience of becoming and staying sober is a process of success taken in measured steps. Setbacks are common and according to the book Staying Sober by Terence Gorski and Merlene Miller, “recovery from a progressive disease is not a process of straight line growth…many people do not make it all the way through the recovery process.” Upon reaching a point of difficulty, one must make a conscious decision to either continue to work toward sobriety or to give up and slip back into old behaviors and bad habits. Jay-Z, Oprah and Paul Mitchell were born penniless but they learned from their tough upbringings and used their experiences to further motivate themselves towards their dreams. A sober person can do the same, by not living in the past but learning from it and continuing to walk down a path to success.

Giving Back

The lasting effect of working toward sobriety can change a person’s sense of self and worldview. When Jamie Lee Curtis spoke about her recovery, she said that getting sober gave her a better sense of her abilities and she felt positive and more successful than she had ever been. Curtis had the honor of serving on the Board of Directors for The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. By serving on that board Curtis was able to give back and carry the message of recovery as written about in the Twelfth Step of Alcoholics Anonymous. Success can mean something different to every individual. It doesn’t have to be defined by anyone else’s standards or even by the way one was raised. In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson , “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”
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