I used to sit at the bar, free from marriage, emotional ties and family life. I would sip whiskey without a care in the world. I mean I had serious problems but with whisky in my head I didn’t pay them any mind. Why kill the buzz, I wasn’t stupid!
Sobriety I didn’t care much for. It meant anxiety, irritation and a black and white world that required responsibility. I couldn’t imagine living that way. I used to see families doing their shopping with screaming kids, parents stressed and worn out. I used to look at them with a smug sense of relief in that they lived in a world so unlike mine. And there’s was a life I was never signing up for.
There were nights in police cells for drunk aggressive behaviour. I avoided prison on more than one occasion by some sort of fate. Yet I was strangely comfortable in my shitty existence because I new how to live it. Just keep drinking, avoiding life and hating the world. Simplicity at it’s finest for a man like me. And I was good at it until my conscious finally caught up with me.
A past girlfriends parents (who hated me for obvious reasons) once told me that a leopard never changes its spots. And I believed them, I had no reason to disagree.
I believed in that analogy for a long time. Up until I hit rock bottom and knew in my heart I had to change. I couldn’t live my resentment driven life any longer. I was selfish beyond belief and hated what I had become.
It took six years from the age of 30 to try and kick the alcohol and my mental health state. The last 18 months of my drinking I believed I had found a balance. Between the rum and red wine, the marijuana and the anti psychotic medication I was able to function and work but my mental health was deteriorating quite badly. Something was going to give. I was suicidal and desperate to quit drinking by the end of it. But unable to stop on my own accord.
And then through an act of grace everything changed. Faith replaced fear and forgiveness replaced anger. All through a simple meditation exercise.
Today I woke up and meditated, free from addictions. Went to work to provide for my family and when I walk through the door I will get bombarded by three excited toddlers who love me without question. I practice patience at home and live free from emotional entanglements to the problems around me. I am truly now a free man. I love my wife and daughters unconditionally.
It seems a leopard can change it’s spots but it takes a willingness to do a complete 180. To reassess what is important and to work towards a better ideal. To live in the light free from darkness. To put others before myself and bring strength and stability to my relationships through faith and service and a conscious approach to life.
It comes down to what is important. And being a good husband and father is everything to me now. Everyone has the ability to change for the better. No matter how far they have fallen.