By: Marc McMahon
Well, here we go almost a whole year gone again. Looking back on this past year and I must say I do with great humility and a little bit of pride. Ya, I said it, I think I am proud of myself for my part in how things have turned out in 2017. That doesn’t happen often though, me reflecting back on an entire year of my life and actually being proud of myself and really meaning it. Not just lying to myself telling myself I am in hopes of sparing my Psyche any more damage than I have already done to it in my addiction.
Looking in the mirror and smiling and having that warmth reach all the way into your own heart. Where it is able to do what only the healthy love of self can…….Heal. Where for the first time in the past decade you have been able to see yourself for the con-artist you really were but knowing that this time what you are feeling is actually real. Not a part of some twisted scheme to take from another which is not your own all without regard, in order to quench the thirst your addiction has to get high.
Nope, just good old-fashioned, you smile when you buy it, and every time you use it because you busted your ass to earn the money to purchase it. I’ll say it again, no lies, just good old-fashioned, down-home, Founding Fathers of this Great Nation Pride! It is a new feeling for me, or not new just one I have not experienced much since this nightmare began in “96” but it is so cool, and healthy, and very much needed.
What’s On The 2018 Agenda?
Some may say “oh no here he goes again” but what the hell third time trying college as a sober adult must be the charm because the first two times definitely were far from charmed. Yes on January 2nd if all goes according to plan I will be back in a University classroom just this time I am trying it online, one course at a time, year round in five-week increments. Versus the traditional full-time academic course load with a summer and spring vacation. I think it may be kind of good for me, especially since I spend much time on my laptop writing anyways.
One of the many things I have learned about myself over this past year is that it is crucial to my recovery, my life, and my self-esteem, that I have something to do each week that I deem to be worthwhile and productive for my future well being. I never realized I needed that before but I am finding when I get bored that generally the thought of going back to school, or working part-time, or even volunteering at the Senior Center down the street puts a smile on my face and makes me feel kind of complete if that makes any sense?
I suppose it is just something required as part of being human but this human just turned 49 and it has taken me that long to figure it out. Kind of like addiction being a big black curtain that gets dropped over your entire life, much like a painter would cover an expensive carpet prior to painting the room a new color. Accept this curtain dropped at the age of your first use and was not removed until you were 9 months sober some twenty-two years later.
Almost Like Being In a Time Machine
When I started my addiction as an adult it was 1996, now it almost 2018. When I started I was 26 years old, I just turned 49. When this nightmare began I had been at the same job 6 years at age 26, had been married to my high-school sweetheart for nearly 5 and had a bouncing baby boy on the way. We also were driving a new 4×4 truck we bought off the showroom floor. My addiction stole from me all of that in less than 8 months! The last time I was gainfully employed (prior to my SSI disability) was 2009, wow!
2018 is here and it is time to take the bull by the damn horns right out of the gate I figure. In going back to school even though online, I am running straight forward into some real honest to God fear I am noticing. Not I’m scared the Principal is related to Jeffery Dahmer fear. But, you have failed at this two times before in recovery Marc and had a relapse not long after, so what the hell are you even thinking trying this again kind of fear.
Topped off with a dash of the little voice in the back of my head that I just recently noticed which plays a tune with the simplest yet most powerful set of lyrics. Its called “What Makes You Think This Time Is Different” It’s the title track off the little bastards debut album called “Your Nothing But A Loser”. Ya, I always thought I had a very positive self-image hence my upbeat attitude and love despite my lifetime of some may say self-induced heartache. But that too was just another lie I had been telling myself over the years to spare myself the truth I guess. Not sure yet, but more will be revealed.
I think admitting to myself that the fear I have is real and legitimate is the first step to overcoming it. Much like an addict must first admit he/she has a problem as the first step to treating it. Realizing that we all are afraid of something whether we realize it yet or not and that it is a sign of strength to admit it is real, not a sign of weakness.
To admit the problem with my recovery over the years has not been the fault of the program I decided to use, but operator error. To take full responsibility for my past, present, and future, and hold no-one else accountable for my recovery accept for myself. To realize that ultimately my future happiness and success is not contingent on anything else other than again, how I Choose to prepare for it! To be the author of my own destiny, the parent to my own future, and the one ultimately responsible for my future happiness.
Take the bull by the horns this new year. Recognize your fears and tackle them one by one starting with the biggest one first and working your way down the ladder as you go. Ultimately coming out the other side a Seasoned, Sober, Warrior, who no-longer hides behind their fear, but runs straight through it, obliterating it with the joy and excitement of your new Sober Life because as you have probably heard before……………………….#WeDoRecover!
About the Author: Marc is a 48-year-old Author, Speaker, and Soldier in a war to loosen the grasp that Substance Abuse has on our society. He is a Father, Son, and friend to all those seeking refuge from this incorrigible disease. Marc resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest where he enjoys, writing, hiking, and kicking the disease of addiction in the teeth, every chance he gets. As Marc always likes to say, “be blessed, my friends!”