Independence From AddictionI’m not like many of you.

Today, millions of people in the United States will celebrate the anniversary of the date when our founding fathers in the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.

That “Independence Day” often is marked by parades, picnics and parties that include barbecued foods, fireworks and the consumption of beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages. Millions of Americans 12 years of age and older also smoke marijuana, according to surveys including the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. It goes without saying that people will be getting high in many ways today.

But not me and millions of other recovering alcoholics and addicts.

For us, real freedom today comes from avoiding substances that, while pleasurable in smaller doses and infrequent use, led to physical, emotional and spiritual bondage.

Unlike prohibitionists, I don’t support laws that ban alcohol and other drugs. That isn’t freedom either.

Not everyone who will overindulge today is an alcoholic or drug addict. Some are just naïve or foolish about the effects of alcohol and other drugs. However, as someone who has experienced the compulsion to drink and drug, I know that I am not one of the people who can take a few sips of a drink, put it down and forget it.

I’ve had to make adjustments in the 30+ years since my last drink and drug. I’ve regained a spiritual foundation for my life, and have worked to clear the wreckage of my past caused by my addictions.

I speak to groups and individuals regarding my experiences before, during and after addiction. The main point of my talks is that real freedom is something that we have to work for, and at times fight to maintain. The benefits are more wonderful than someone can imagine when under bondage, but those benefits do come true when we work for them.

Happy Independence Day!