While hanging out with some of my Brothers in Christ, one of them, Stan, talked about the toll alcohol addiction has had on his life.
“Brothers, there were times when I was so drunk that I ended up in a different city. I woke up the next day in my car, and I have no idea how I got from place A to B!”
He went on to say that his life had become completely unmanageable, and he had lost hope.
As he stated, he hit rock bottom, and he knew it was time to join Alcoholic Anonymous (AA), where his sponsor shared the brutal truth …
“Look, Stan, here are your options: #1 – You can keep doing what you are doing now, and eventually you will be back in jail for driving drunk. #2 – You can decide you’ve had enough of this crazy life, and it’s time to get sober and stay sober forever. #3 – Start planning the end of your days here on earth and be prepared for your new resting place, which is 6 feet under!”
As Stan shared with us more about his addiction to alcohol, we listened intently. In fact, many of us were looking inwardly, knowing we have our own addictions (i.e., wind), whether it is gambling, overworking, gaming, or pornography.
When these addictions are strong, the winds are out of control. They have reached a point where our sails might become torn. At this point, we can no longer handle the situation on our own. As Stan noted, we must surrender to the forces and be willing to accept change.
Adjusting the Sails
For many years, I had the impression I was 100% in control of my life.
My self-help audiotapes reinforced the following …
- “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.”
- “Change only happens when I make it happen.”
- “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
I’m sure you’ve heard these sayings in the past. They are motivational, but they are missing something important … that is, the winds can be fierce and unpredictable, and unless I adjust my sails, my boat might tip over and sink.
Adjusting my Sails
Here are some ways I am adjusting my sails …
- First, I stopped thinking I am the smartest person in the room. While it is true that I can bring value to a personal or business conversation, I’ve realized the input of others is valuable.
- I no longer work the crazy 80+ hours per week; instead, I make it a point to serve others at least 10 hours per week, and this change alone has softened my heart and allowed me to lead with humility.
- When someone shares something positive happening in their lives, I am far less likely to feel envy or jealousy.
Stan concluded by saying, “Guys, I am a work in progress. I know many temptations lie ahead of me, and the more I am honest about my situation with myself, the more likely I am to remain sober today.”
Honesty and vulnerability … what a beautiful way to live.