Chapter 4:3 My New Life Begins
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It was while I was in rehab that my new life begins and I began grasping what I would later know to be a process called “modeling”. The whole process was about learning from other people’s mistakes… and success so you didn’t have to make the mistakes yourself. And so you could follow their footsteps along the way to success. While there, I was going to have the opportunity to be introduced to many other people who were fighting the same battle that I was fighting, and by learning how to listen, following their example, using the same strategies that they had used, and adopting the same beliefs that they had, I started to see there could be a way to get through life without drugs and alcohol.
I would go to group meetings every day, and listen to others who were staying sober one day at a time, and by following their lead, I started to learn that I could live my life that way also. I went to group therapy sessions and started to tear down some of the walls I had built in order to survive. It was an intense process. 24 hours a day I was surrounded by people who were there to help us deal with the physical, mental and emotional withdrawal we were experiencing. I started to learn that for years I had lived in the past, beating myself up for past mistakes, or reveling in past glories, or I went the other direction. I went to the other extreme of living in the future, dreaming that everything would be fine “someday”, or I would sit there and create this whole fantasy world, projecting what a person or situation would do and how it would all work out just “perfectly”. And what I was doing, is I was completely ignoring what needed to be done today, NOW, to live. Living the other way was an interesting place to live. It was a fantasy land, with no rewards. But it was safe. And I learned I had lived most of my life in that fantasy for the past 16 years.
One of the biggest breakthroughs came through a woman named Mary Natoli. She was a counselor who was leading our group session one day at the rehab. I don’t remember what triggered her to ask this question, but she asked me, “Will, what are you so angry about?” I felt the whole room’s attention shift to me. Well, in my eyes at that time, I wasn’t angry about anything, and it didn’t make any sense to me why she would say such a thing. But she persisted, and the rest of the group started agreeing with her telling me how they could tell I was angry by the way I acted and talked. They started giving specific examples and I started to become very uneasy. I felt like I was under a microscope and I didn’t like it. She proceeded to tell me that I had so much anger, that I had built walls so high around myself to protect myself that I wasn’t able to see anything on the other side. She kept asking me why I was angry until I finally exploded.
I started screaming out, “You want to know why I’m angry? Ok, I’ll tell you. Why?!?!? Why me?!?!?. What did I do that was so terrible?!?!? I was 8 years old… What did I do that was so bad that I had to be punished like that?!?!?!?” And I just started to cry.
For the first time that I can remember, in a room full of people, I broke down and bawled. And then, for some reason, I was finally willing to hear the message that so many others tried to impart, but only Mary was able to get through. Softly, she said, “Will, I can’t answer that question. I’ll never be able to, and no one else on this earth will ever be able to. There’s only one person who has that answer, and you won’t get it while you are still here. But I do want you to think about something. What would happen if it were all a part of preparing you for something bigger? Something more powerful than you will ever imagine. All I can guess is that maybe, your Creator has a purpose so great for you… that he knew you were going to have to be stronger than anything you could imagine. Maybe you had to go through losing your leg, and the addiction, and the jails and the pain for a higher purpose. And what if part of that purpose was to help someone else so they wouldn’t have to travel the same path?”
To be honest, I was still stuck in selfish mode, and didn’t really care about anyone else on the path at that moment, but those words stuck with me… for the past 20 years they have stuck with me, and have become a guiding force in much of my life. Thank you Mary.
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The Warrior Sage Chapter/SectionWho Is Willard Barth?Author's NotesPreface - Exploring Strength And WeaknessChapter 1:1 - The Process Of Self-AwarenessChapter 1:2 The Stages Of Child DevelopmentChapter 2:1 The World Changed ForeverChapter 2:2 The Vicious Cycle BeginsChapter 2:3 Losing FaithChapter 2:4 My Dark SecretChapter 2:5 Where Is The Love I Was Promised?Chapter 3:2 The Road To Alcohol DependenceChapter 3:3 Leaving My Childhood BehindChapter 3:4 Escaping Responsibility; The Joy Ride EndsChapter 3:5 Living A Duality BeginsChapter 3:6 Out Of ControlChapter 3:7 Crossing The Line To InsanityChapter 3:8 The Black-out Drinking BeginsChapter 3:9 Facing The MusicChapter 3:10 A New BeginningChapter 3:11 More Lessons To LearnChapter 4:1 The Final PartyChapter 4:2 A Moment Of Clarity
Chapter 4:3 My New Life BeginsChapter 4:4 Sober - Time To Face The WorldChapter 4:5 The First Year Of SobrietyChapter 4:6 Major Change Comes In Year TwoChapter 4:7 My Daughter Is Born April 20, 1992Chapter 5:1 Life Changing Decisions Follow My Daughter's Birth Chapter 5:2 Recognizing The Voice InsideChapter 5:3 The Empress HotelChapter 5:4 A New Chapter In My Life BeginsChapter 6:1 Finding My Way HomeChapter 6:2 Falling Into PlaceChapter 6:3 A New AwarenessChapter 6:4 Personal Finances And Personal DevelopmentChapter 6:5 The George Washington StoryChapter 6:6 Letting Go So Others Can Grow Chapter 6:7 The Wrap Up
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