Looking back, I remember feeling the sense of rebellion when I started partying. For some reason, rebelling against my parents felt like independence. When I thought that I was rebelling, I was really just doing the same thing that everyone else around me was doing. I was blind to that fact. Years passed with me doing the same things over and over again as my life began tumbling out of control. Drugs and alcohol became the elixir to me forgetting about that aspect. I thought I was independent although I was actually quite predictable. I was going to get a paycheck and then spend it at bars or on drugs. I was going to binge, pretending I was having a good time. I was going to have consequences. I was going to be broke, create drama and half-ass every responsibility I had in life. I wasn't able to see how predictable I was until I was given the chance to go to treatment. Right then I saw that what I had been doing wasn't really independent at all. I woke up and realized that the most independent thing I could do, was to take back my life...say no to my temptations, say no to what others around me expected of me, say no to the old life and say yes to the new. Sobriety was going to be my independence. I could begin taking life by the horns. I could decide to accept all of my responsibilities. This was my chance to be the motherfu$&ing CEO of me! Now, when someone asks me if I want a drink, I can make the executive decision to say no and carry on with building my life. I've been able to choose to build myself. After building myself, I've been able to gain new skills that have allowed me to make many other independent decisions; get my real estate license, work my way up the corporate ladder, start businesses, travel, build myself some more, meet new people, start a movement, move to my dream state, be happy.