I was having a conversation with a friend yesterday, and the topic of discussion was “Learning to be alone, with yourself.” Yes, I realize that may sound like an oxymoron, but stay with me; Let’s talk some shit.
I feel like 2015-2016 was the year of change for a lot of people in my universe this year, (Myself included.) At the start of 2015, I drank super high end craft beer regularly. I went “Downtown” and raised hell on the regular. I stayed out late at friends houses, and really didn’t have a care in the world. Flashforward to today, and holy shit, hold onto your butts….Shit got real. I am now the father of the most advanced, amazing, beautiful, and perfect baby girl that this world has ever known. I tell people she’s from Asgard. My girlfriend and I saving for a house. We have a “joint” savings account. We have a preference for brands of paper towel (VIVA or nothing) and enjoy essential oils. Hard core “adulting” going on over here. Nic….Nic….What does this have to do with being alone? Chill dude. Shit’s about to get trippy and deep, Teddy Brosevelt.
The catalyst for this change in my life was quite simply, my felony DWI on February 21st, 2015. Like I mentioned earlier, I did what I wanted, and I really didn’t give a shit. To make matters worse, I also had a DWI from May of 2011 as well………Yea-yeah. Put your pitchforks down. Hear me out. My first DWI, should have killed me. I was driving my 1998 Honda Civic (Fast and The Furious edition) back home, AFTER RECEIVING A RIDE TO MY CAR FROM A DESIGNATED DRIVER. (I know…I was an asshat.) To make a long story short, I tried to climb a fifty foot Poplar tree with my Civic, and ended up in the hospital for a week. We’re talking DOZENS OF BROKEN BONES. Vertebrae, ribs, shoulder blade, compound collarbone fracture…The works. You would have thought with all the drunk classes, group sessions, fines, and legal obligations, that it would have been enough to stop me from being a degenerate….Nope…Not even close. When you’re twenty-one, and you survive something like that, it only adds to your already bloated ego.
There’s that word. EGO. That son of a bitch. My ego was a real prick, and I had to learn to destroy him. Let’s zoom from 2011 to 2015. So it was business as usual for me and my life in the years that followed my first DWI. I worked and drank. Now, I was never one of those “Wake up and pound a beer” type creatures. I had a few beers when I got home from work. A few could mean two, or it could mean twenty two. It depended who came over for beers that night. To be perfectly honest, I’ve only driven “drunk” a handful of times in my life. I used to say, “I’m the unluckiest person you’ll meet,” but I’ve recently changed that position. The start of 2016 for me was my introduction to MYSELF, I just didn’t know it at the time.
My mother always told me, “I had to love myself, before I could truly love another.” When you’re ten that sounds like, “The color seven, tastes like crayons.” I started doing addiction groups/classes in March of 2015. At first I was like, “Holy fuck, these people are nuts.” However, as time went on, and the more I engaged in the discussions, the more I began to understand myself. Since 2015, I’ve attended HUNDREDS of group and individual sessions, and when you are forced to look inward that many times, you either evolve, or die. I chose to evolve. I chose to become the greatest version of myself to date. I will get better every second, every minute, every day.
I did the Alcoholics Anonymous “thing” for a bit, and good gravy, is that shit crazy. Now, I know it helps SOME people, and has a decent success rate, but if I wanted to praise god and be a submissive sheep to the ire of the all powerful lord; I’d walk to the church at the end of my street. Oddly enough my distaste of AA, was one of the more powerful catalysts that I encountered, that helped me find myself. In AA, you basically throw your hands up, and direct all responsibilities to god. After all, you’re just a sick sinner, with a disease. It was at that moment, that precise episode in time when I realized what I needed to do. The answer was simple. Pure. Undiluted. It was ME. I was responsible for being in the predicament I was in, and “I” was going to remedy this situation. Let’s be clear though, there’s a fine line between being a narcissistic-egomaniac, and choosing to accept personal responsibility, and TCB (Take care of business.) The solution resided in me, I only needed to extend my hand, and embrace myself in this change.
I haven’t had a drop of booze in over two years (Feb, 21st, 2015) , and it’s funny; it was the easiest part of my whole journey. Accepting your own imperfections, and striving to right them when possible is a real bitch of a task. The one thing that helped me get more in touch with myself, is ironically what is happening right now. Writing. I love it. When you put your thoughts LITERALLY IN FRONT OF YOU, you can sample their taste. You can unwrap your thoughts, place them on paper, and digest. Even if the thoughts are negative, scary, or uncomfortable. They taste like warm apple pie, with a scoop of ice cream. You just can’t be afraid to consume, experience, or bask in your own craziness sometimes.
I was happy discussing with my buddy about “being alone with ourselves.” It reminded me how far I’ve come, and how far i’ll continue to go to be better. I can honestly say, getting my second DWI was the “Worst-Best Thing” that’s ever happened to me. I had to meet myself, and learn from it. I had to explore the darkest recesses of my brain, and pull myself from the shadows. Am I perfect because of this? Nah. I grind my teeth, swear too much, and leave the toilet seat up constantly.
Today, I will put all of my being into raising my daughter, and not a single ounce less. Christmas is just around the corner (her first one, she’s six months old) and I could not be happier with where I am in life right now. I implore anyone/everyone, if they have just a second of free time, to just have a conversation with themselves. Pause the world, the noise, and clutter. Look deep. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with what you’ll find. You’re amazing. You matter. You can conquer. Now get out there, and fuck shit up. Be the person you know you can be. If that means flipping burgers like you’re Mozart conducting a grand orchestra; flip them burgers maestro. If that means negotiating deals; sell that shit. If it’s….Well…You get it. TGIF!