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Sobriety is a life-long journey

I was asked by someone why I hadn’t done one of these in a while, and I really didn’t have any answer other than that my life has been going through some changes and I wasn’t sure if what I was saying were even the right things.

I had more than one tribal elder tell me they appreciated the things I had written and I needed to continue. They told me maybe there was something in my words that may have encouraged someone else to take the path I have chosen. I have leaned on my journey that I know nothing, and that I need to stay teachable. When people who know more than I do, I need to close my mouth and open my ears.

Life on life’s terms - I’ve tried to wear the shoes of someone who controls everything around me. I’ve tried them on and they didn’t fit. I tried to throw my weight around, use a loud voice and threaten and intimidate those around me to try and get them to think like I thought or do the things that were good for me. I thought life would be better if everyone just did as I told them, without question, because I knew what was good for everyone.

All of that behavior only got me a lot of anger, frustration, heartbreak and people who resented me. How was I supposed to tell others how to live when my own life was in shambles because of my own behavior? When I made the decision to change myself, I asked, “What do I need to change?” My councilors told me, “That’s easy – everything.”

I thought that all I needed to do was to figure out how to stop drinking and I had the rest of my life figured out. I thought that the only problem I had was I couldn’t stop drinking and if I did that, I was on easy street. WRONG! I found out there was a little more involved than that. It wasn’t the bottle trying to control everyone and everything around me, that was me. That bottle didn’t threaten people and wreak havoc on everything around me – that was me. And until I figured out how to change everything, my life would continue to spiral downward.

I learned I could not hold on to any of it. I could not keep any resentment, I could not keep any anger, I could not keep that self-righteousness. Not even a little bit of it. I had to change it all.

Today, I struggle sometimes. Those old behaviors want to come out. But I’m trying. I’m trying my best to change on a daily basis. I’m trying my best to practice the principals I’ve learned in ALL of my affairs. Every action I take, every word I speak, has an outcome and the only thing I control in that exchange is my own words and actions. How others react to my words and actions is completely out of my control, no matter if I like them or not.

That was a tough pill to swallow for someone who tried to hold on to that control for as long as I did. But today, I’ll swallow that pill every day if it means I get to continue to be a better person and live a life as a man, free of my addictions. Life is tough sometimes. Life doesn’t play my games. I either play life’s game and accept I don’t control anything but my own words and actions, or I need to get ready for life to finish me off.

But the good thing is, I don’t walk alone. There are others out there who are walking the same path I am and are willing to walk with me, listen, council and encourage me on the path of a better life – IF I am willing to continue to change. Wah-shko^