My name is Christopher Bilyk, I am the Founder & CEO of State of Gratitude, and I am a recovering drug and alcohol addict. This company is not just a job for me, it is my passion and my motto every single day of my life. I believe that no matter what is going on in my life, if I stick to this clear cut message things can only get better.
Born and raised in Florida to amazing parents, I have always known that I wasn’t quite like the rest of my peers. I was popular (don’t get me wrong), part of the tennis team, and stellar at academics. But, there was always something that was missing inside of me and I couldn’t really put my finger on it. Like many others who are drug and alcohol addicts, we have a hard time coming to terms that we can’t be like everyone else. I strove so hard to blend in with the masses, have a casual drink with the masses, but it was never enough. I thought my sexuality was the issue that made me exceptional from the rest. When I was 19 years old, I came out to my parents as gay. I didn’t have a traumatic familiar experience, they have always been the rock in my life and I love them to the moon and back. They also love me just as much.
After I came out to my parents and friends, the cat was out of the bag and my problems didn’t seem to go away. They only escalated and became worse. I went from being a straight A student in high school, to the individual who barely made it to my classes in college. The fact that I was able to graduate on time was a miracle, and of course, after a few major attitude readjustments. The only problem is that my attitude readjustments never lasted. They held about a 3-6 month lifespan. They would be long enough for me to get my life into a somewhat semblance of control. Once things had seemed to be going better the drinking heavily would return, the drug use would escalate. Blacked out evenings eventually led to heavier drug use that eventually spiraled out of control.
After being fired from my job on Miami Beach, I moved to Chicago to attempt to reorganize my life. However, this time I was not so fortunate in getting my 3 to 6 window of success. After about 3 months, I was not only heavily using, day and night, spending all my money sinking myself further and further into debt, I was also being blackmailed and harassed by an individual who threatened to expose my secret dark lifestyle behind closed doors to my family, coworkers, and friends.
Enough was enough and one day by surprise, my parents flew up to Chicago and discovered me a complete wreck and hopeless. It was a week I will never forget, and I agreed to seek help for my substance abuse and since that point I have never looked back.
I will never forget the emptiness or the depression I felt during that time. It was as though I could never escape it. The endless lying, torment, and running in the dark was going to take my life, if I didn’t break the cycle.
Today, I live in a perpetual State of Gratitude, always looking forward but never forgetting where I came from. To me, it is a way of life, a motto, and sign of strength. It gives me the ability to change my perspective to be able to break the endless cycle of addiction and depression. No one should live this way, and I know that there are millions of individuals in this country who do.
At what point do we say enough? Let’s spread a message of positivity and promote and help others who so desperately need our help.
You are never alone.