I used to be a heroin addict.
3 1/2 years ago I spent a week detoxing in my room from all substances.
I haven’t had a drip, or a drop, since.
I don’t feel proud either. The fact that I haven’t gotten high or drunk in a while isn’t something I think about. In fact, my entire experience of drug addiction is a bit of a haze.
I remember what it felt like to absolutely need something to feel “ok”. I remember sitting in my car for hours, sick to my stomach waiting for the phone to ring. I remember sneaking around the house looking for things to pawn…but, I don’t remember a good reason why I did those things.
Sometimes, it feels like I’ve disconnected myself from the experience of being a dope fiend. I no longer recognize the uncontrollable desire for instant pleasure.
3 1/2 years ago, I stepped out of a self-induced state of dependency. For the first time in my life, I experienced a full spectrum of emotions.
Prior to getting sober, I had never contemplated the intricacies involved in a human experience. I wasn’t aware of my own thoughts. I couldn’t separate the voice in my head, from the part of me that observes that voice. For all intents and purposes, I was trapped in “The Matrix”. A sheep to my own life experience; a participant unaware of the story unfolding in front of my eyes. I operated on one frequency: do it.
Reflection was reserved for moments of pain.
The only time I ever felt the desire to analyze “who I was” or “what I was doing” were times when I was alone; over stimulated by amphetamines or under-doped by a lack of heroin.
When I stopped 3 1/2 years ago, I didn’t know what I was going to do. I didn’t know what my life meant, or what was ahead of me. I had no goals or aspirations; just a desire to wake up in the morning and not feel sick or depressed.
Over time, I discovered a theme that I continue to implement today: Risk.
A risky expression of “self” has the power to shake the foundation of who we are, and if we’re lucky, it can inspire others to do the same. To make a difference in the lives of those we meet, by letting people see how we truly think or feel.
3 1/2 years ago, the lack of escape forced me to accept and understand “who I was” and what I wanted.
I began to risk myself in life. I tried things I never had the guts to do: Like, playing an instrument on stage, kissing a girl without being high or drunk, singing karaoke, or speaking in front of people.
I risked myself every time I shared something that I had written, recorded, or performed.
The process allowed me to see myself, as I risked other people seeing me.
It curtailed an increase of productivity, creativity, and drive. It taught me to focus on what I value; cultivating a mindset of patience and perseverance.
Risking myself has taught me about what I love and what I want. These 3 1/2 years have challenged me to stay true to what’s important, as I move closer to the man I want to be.
But, the theme in my life remains the same: Honesty and Risk.
Writing the first draft for this post was me being honest. Looking back at what I had written and deciding to press publish was the risk.
Will it change the world? Nah. Will it save someone else? Probably not. But, it has saved me and it will continue to move me forward: by risking myself in honesty.