Monthly Archives: September 2019

What will matter?

When you die what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured? What will matter is not what you bought but what you have built. Not what you got but what you have given. What will matter is not what you learned but what but what you taught others. What will matter is your every act of integrity and compassion, your courage to sacrifice, to enrich and empower others by your example. What will matter most is not your confidence but your character. What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel the insatiable loss of your departure. What will matter is not your memories but those that live on in the ones who loved you. What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom, and for what.
A life lived significantly is not by circumstance but by the everlasting gift of the choices you made while you were here.

What would you take?

My sister and brother in law rushed to evacuate their home in the 1,000 acre Tenaja Fire path last night not knowing what remains they may find when it’s over. While I know they’ll be safe, limited time surely forced a quick assessment of that they deemed they couldn’t afford to lose to the flames, would constitute the entirety of contents of their two cars, and would undoubtedly be their choice remains with which to begin a new life elsewhere. Between news updates, I laid awake in bed arguing scenarios with myself about what I might pack in the same predicament and why. My dog, some clothes, meds and a few toiletries made the short list of course, but what with which to fill the remaining few square feet of space before I drove away in a Kia and a panic? Ultimately what I got was an unsettling question of my values, priorities and reasoning abilities in a crisis, a shameful preoccupation with my accumulated possessions, and a very long, sleepless night.
I should be better at a task like this.
While deliberating, the fire arrived long before I filled the rest of my car, and I drove off with extra space and only the essentials. I realized that all the cherished objects I’d originally considered necessary for preserving memories were already etched in my mind and preserved in my heart. Stuff is stuff and as we know, millions of disaster victims don’t go unscathed, but have restarted just fine more humbly and with much less.
Choices may be painful, but given too much thought, maybe too often unnecessarily so.

My story and I’m stickin’ to it.

[If there’s one thing addicts do well, it’s telling stories. But after 8 years clean, they’re usually not lies anymore. Tonight at my meeting, I’ll share the most important part of how I did it once again as I share each year on this day.]

Someone asked me recently how I did it. How I got off drugs, meth of all things. Undoubtedly tonight at my meeting I’ll be asked once again as is the tradition for anyone getting another annual chip. My eighth.

I’ve given a lot of thought to the question. Less to the mechanics of my leap into sobriety, but more about which of my words might just trigger another addict in attendance to turn on that light upstairs, illuminating them to the possibility that they, too, despite their past, deserve a future.

You see, it’s not so much the quitting of drugs that’s important. Equally necessary is the installation of hope and belief that you are worth far more in this world than the lonely company of any drug or its cohorts. It’s about having been utterly blinded by the stupor of a drug and its false promise of contentment that blocks out hope or vision there’s really anything more to life. To that end, we are all addicts. We all have something we’ve allowed to remain which blocks our hope and blurs our vision. Something to which we remain bound.

“Clean and sober.” It’s almost cliché these days.
The distinction between the two, however, is perhaps the most important thing I learned in my years of recovery so far. I got clean once, but I get more sober with each passing day.

The truly recovered are not recovered at all. They are recovering. And the truly recovering can instinctively tell the difference. A recovering person hasn’t simply stopped using, they have started living. It’s evident that a clarity of mind, purpose and a place for God was birthed at some moment, and rarely is that moment a single epiphany, but the commencement of lifelong epiphanies which, strung together, create the continuity of recovering.

It’s the high I get from my ongoing little epiphanies of life these days. They continue to escort me down a much more beautiful path. And when you find yourself in a much prettier place, hope is much easier to find. In fact, it seems to find you.
And isn’t that really the definition of God?

So for the addicts in all of us, I say to you, we are here in this world for one reason only: Be that hope for someone today. Be clean. Be sober. And most of all, live like you deserve to.

That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.