Sol Ryan’s Recovery Story

Everyone I know on an intimate level has expressed some type of personal struggle, we all have them. Mine was alcoholism/addiction.  It was not until my late teens and early twenties that I started to experience pain related to my use.  It still amazes me how hard I fought to keep alcohol and drugs in my life considering the clear correlation to pain and consequences.  Personal and professional relationships ended, people started to distance themselves and consequences started to feel insignificant.  It was a continual cycle that I found no way out of and felt very alone.  A few weeks after my 29th birthday I was completely lost, little did I know I was at my bottom.

On August 16th, 2008 I showed up at The Retreat, a recovery program based in Wayzata MN and have not had a drink or drug since. I was financially, emotionally, spiritually and physically bankrupt. I still vividly remember the feeling of complete despair and hopelessness but somewhere deep down I knew I was in the right place. I wanted to change but did not know how or even where to begin and somehow had the willingness to accept help.  Absolutely amazing people came into my life and so generously shared their time, experiences and wisdom with me.  I started down a path that has led to a life I did not know existed and many of those same people are still by my side.

I have made mistakes and it has been far from perfect, but what a journey.  I continue to take daily action for my own recovery and am grateful to be connected to one of the most incredible recovery communities in the world.  In some small way, if we can continue to make this world a better place, it is all worth it.  I used to hear people introduce themselves as grateful alcoholics and did not understand how someone could be grateful for being an alcoholic.  I am now starting to understand because I would not be living the life I am today if I was not an alcoholic. I’ve truly been given a gift!

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