I used to think that there was two ways of doing anything – my way and the wrong way. When I was a kid, if an adult told me how to put something together, I wanted to ignore them and do it my way – and when it broke, I threw a fit because that stupid thing was junk. Nothing much changed as an adult – when I ignored the assembly instructions, did it my way, and it didn’t work out – well that thing was crap, the company sucked, the store sucked and I wanted my money back. If I fixed something my way and it didn’t fit together, I forced that sonofabitch in there and if it broke, well that piece of shit must’ve needed replacement anyway. Before we had GPS Navigation, I never followed a map to find out how to get there. Screw that. I knew the best way to get there and if I got lost, it was because those roads were all messed up, and the urban planner who designed them was an idiot and should be shot.
When it came to my alcoholism and addiction, I wasn’t about to listen when someone told me my using was out of control. They didn’t even know. They didn’t know me, they didn’t know what I’d been through, or go what I was going through, so who were they to tell me how to live?! When my life first started to unravel because of my addiction, and I was forced into treatment, I went through the motions, said what the people who were trying to help me wanted to hear, did what they wanted me to do, just to get me out of my family’s spotlight, so I could get back to my ‘normal’ life. When my ‘normal’ life actually did explode into pieces and I really admitted I had a problem and wanted help, I went into recovery again with a better attitude. Or so I thought.
After a few months of sobriety, I was feeling great about EVERYTHING! Things had never, ever been better! I was working a program & ‘getting honest’, sobriety had helped me get my life together, the obsession to use had been lifted and life was GREAT! I had some sobriety time under my belt but I was tired of listening to these blowhards that had multiple years of sobriety telling me what to do – I had MY WAY of doing things and I was going to SAVE ALL THE ADDICTS! But after awhile, life threw some new hardships in my path and I was caught off guard because I was high on recovery, not paying attention, and stopped listening to the people with experience. Fortunately, I remembered what these experienced people had told me to do when bad things happened, and avoided relapse. I also remembered how they told me to always be prepared for and be on guard against bad things happening in the future. I went back to doing things their way, not mine.
Imagine being on vacation on a tropical beach, where you’re so caught up in the beauty of the scenery, that you don’t see the signs that say “beware of jellyfish”. The wise locals even tell you to be careful walking on the beaches because of the jellyfish, but you’re so high on the moment that you really don’t listen. You’re so mesmerized by the beauty of the ocean, the palm trees, the sun and the sky that you don’t even look down to see what you’re walking on. So you end up stepping on a jellyfish, sick for the rest of your vacation, become depressed, and end up relapsing. Which all could have been avoided if you would have been paying attention and listened to the experienced people.
We want to enjoy our journey and all the beautiful things around us, but we want to always be sure we’re on the right path, what we’re waking on, and to be prepared to deal with bad encounters that are going to happen at some point, so we’re not caught by surprise, and end up lost and in danger. It’s also always good to have a plan to utilize when we’re faced with these bad encounters. We want to live in the moment and enjoy life, not always worrying about bad things that might happen. But it’s still always best to avoid being so caught up in looking at the scenery that we don’t look down and side step the hazards from life in our path, or see other potential ‘triggers’ that might head our way. Most importantly, for us to listen to the right ,experienced people who have already been where we’re going, and who can tell us the best path to take to avoid the jellyfish of life.