How Chris Costa Reinvented Himself and Achieved 5 Years of Sobriety
Recently, Chris Costa was a guest on The Real Deal On… with Dug McGuirk where they discussed the topic of reinvention. Chris Costa is incredibly familiar with reinvention. He turned his entire life around after a long battle with addiction, and now shares his story of strength and hope to help others.
A little over five years ago, Chris Costa was at his breaking point. Costa describes how his family allowed him to reach rock bottom when they kicked him out of the house in the middle of February in Boston. During this time, he realized how unmanageable his addiction had become.
“I was left on my own, and I was left in the position where I really had to come to terms with the fact that I had a problem, and it became more and more apparent every day that it was a problem that I couldn’t fix myself,” he says.
Once his resources dried up, Costa did whatever he needed to support his habit and prevent feeling sick. While he is not proud of his past, he is open about it because he believes it led him to where he is today.
“I’ve had to do things that I’m not proud of. I’ve had to do things that I’ve had to make amends for. I’ve had to do things that certainly wouldn’t hold up to the values that I have today or the values that I even had then,” he admits.
“Waking up on a couch of someone you don’t even know and seeing yourself in the mirror and having the disappointment of what’s happened over the past several years hit you in what they call a moment of clarity… It’s heavy because you feel like you’ve betrayed not only yourself but everybody that cares about you, and it’s hard to understand why you’ve done what you’ve done, and it’s hard for them to understand why you’ve done what you’ve done.”
Shortly after his moment of clarity, Costa walked into Palm Partners on February 12, 2012, finally ready to turn his life around.
At Palm Partners, Costa learned about what it meant to be an addict. He realized there were tools that could help him navigate life, and he began to understand the reasons for his addiction.
“One of the things I’ve learned […] is we’re not bad people trying to learn how to be good. We’re sick trying to learn how to be well,” he says.
Learning to Follow Suggestions
When Costa first arrived at Palm Partners, his plan was to stay no more than 30 days before returning home. However, one of the things drilled into his mind in treatment was to take suggestions.
Following suggestions, he ended up staying at Palm Partners for 60 days and then spent six months at a halfway house. While at the halfway house, Costa was required to get a job and earn money on his own.
“I was walking to work in the middle of August in South Florida, and I was hitching rides everywhere I had to go to a meeting,” he says.
“I had to ask for rides, and ask for help, and ask what to do next. It all led to taking suggestions and asking where am I supposed to go and what I am supposed to do because everywhere I looked there were people that had more time than me, there were people that had more experience than me and there were people that had been through this. Who am I to have the answers?”
Chris Costa did not rely on handouts. Instead, he established the tools to become self-sufficient. After eight months of working the 12-steps and meeting with sponsors, Costa returned to Boston with the “toolset” he had developed while in South Florida. Chris Costa knew once he arrived, he needed to surround himself with the right people and create clear boundaries. He had to cut the people from his past that would not serve him.
“I made sure that the people I was returning to, the group of friends that I was returning to, and the people in my life that I knew I would be spending all my time with understood what I was going through, and understood what had taken place in my life,” he says.
Reflecting on the Family Program
One of the biggest revelations Costa had while at Palm Partners was when he realized his family needed help just as much as he did. The family program at Palm Partners helped his family understand his addiction, and process everything that had happened.
“They may not have been running around and doing what I had to do to not be sick, but at the same time, they’re sick in their own way in terms of enabling and not understanding the dynamics of what’s happening.”
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Over the course of his recovery, Costa learned to understand and make amends with those he has hurt in the past.
“It’s a process in educating the people around you or making amends with the people you’ve hurt or burn bridges with. Not all those bridges are going to be salvageable.”
On Keeping the Momentum Going
Now over five years sober, Costa admits that life is an up and down journey. He’s learned to keep the momentum going even when life gets challenging.
“I think one of the biggest things that I try to come back to, and I think it’s said by the great Tony Robbins quite a bit, is ‘don’t let life happen to you, let it happen for you,’” he says.
Costa believes practicing gratitude is the key to navigating life when it becomes difficult.
“Finding the ability to be grateful on a daily basis, it’s a challenge. But I think us as addicts or alcoholics or people that struggle with certain issues, we’ve been through a lot,” he says. “And that gives us the ability to really appreciate some of the little nuances in life that we might not appreciate.”
Overall, Costa is grateful to have his program and tools that keep him sober. He continues to work hard as a driven Sales Director and share his incredible story of recovery with others.
“I never would be the person that I am today without having to experience what I’ve experienced and do the work I’ve had to do to get to where I am today.”
Watch the full interview to learn more about Chris Costa’s journey and delve into more important topics like achieving career goals and maintaining a strong recovery program. Costa’s story is a fantastic illustration of how working a solid program can transform your entire life. If you are struggling with addiction, please reach out. You do not have to do this alone. Call now.