21 years ago, on August 16, 1989 I decided I was going to get "wasted" one last time. I went out and drank so much alcohol that I went into a blackout and woke up the next morning in a parking lot with no memory of how I got there.
As I sat there in my car that morning, I resolved that I was going to turn my life around. It was more than a “decision”. It was more powerful than even a “commitment”. It was resolving that I was going to change who I was at my core because I could no longer continue living the way that I was.
Today, August 17, 2010 I celebrate 21 years of sobriety as well as 21 years of conscious growth as a mental, emotional, spiritual and physical being.
So much has changed in that time, many of those things I have already shared here on the site in the SA 101 videos and my book, so I don’t want to go too deeply into those changes in this article.
As I sit here today, I feel so blessed, so grateful. When I began this journey 21 years ago, I had no clear idea of where I was going, or what would happen. I didn’t have much faith in if I could even do it. Up to that point in my life, I lived under the influence daily of either drugs or alcohol. I was a person who refused to be responsible for anything in my life. And I was constantly avoiding facing myself. I had no ability to look objectively at who I had become.
I started off that morning with no idea of what was ahead, but knowing I could no longer live the way I had been.
By making that decision that I was no longer going to live the way I had been, I realized that I needed to “be” a different type of person. I knew it had to change in my “being” first then from that place of “being” a person committed to staying sober, of “being” responsible, I took the steps that allowed me to “do” different things, which ultimately lead me to creating a life that I could never have imagined 21 years ago.
It wasn’t an easy journey at times. There have been many instances over that time where I questioned if being this “new person” was worth it. It would have been so much easier to just go back to not dealing with life. Running and hiding in the bottom of a bottle.
Even as recently as last week, there was so much going on in my personal life, with my family, with business and financial stresses that I wished I could go buy some marijuana, light up a “joint” and just shut off my brain for a while. There was so much chaos happening in my head that I just could not turn it off.
Over the past 21 years there have been times when I’ve wanted to walk away from this journey. I’ve wanted to “forget” what I had learned because the journey of self-awareness means I have to be responsible. I could no longer just write off what was happening in my life to ignorance. Self-awareness was the only way that I could continue to evolve. But there were many times where I just didn’t want to continue to evolve. I just wished I didn’t know what I knew.
For me, today is not about shouting from the rooftops that I am celebrating 21 years as this new person. It is about acknowledging that I never could have gotten here without help. It is about gratitude. It is about remembering where I came from, and acknowledging my “debt” to all those who came before me.
Today, I received the greatest gift. As I was sharing my gratitude, my daughter told me that I was her “hero”. I know that many fathers are heroes to their children. What touched me so deeply is that I never would have heard those words, or felt that connection if I had continued on the path I was on 21 years ago. I would never have held her in my arms; I would never have seen her loving smile. I would never have had any of the amazing experiences I have had as a father if I had not chosen this new path.
Who I am, as a man, as a parent, as a son, as a businessman; all comes down to that day 21 years ago. And more importantly, it comes down to your contribution to my life. I never would have made it without you. Thanks to all of you who have contributed along the way. I owe you my life.
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