Looking Out My Back Window #156

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Originally posted on Facebook HERE

Lessons. Thinking today about all the lessons I’ve learned in life and how so many of them came from making poor choices day after day until I finally could no longer stand it. The most glaring for me is/was alcohol and drug use. From age 14 until I finally cleaned up at age 29, I just kept doing it. Alcohol, pot, coke, whatever. If I could get it, I did it. Alcohol was always my favorite, though – and certainly my main entry point. Once I had a few drinks I’d be open to trying just about anything. And, wow. The feeling after a three day alcohol and coke binge isn’t always so great. I had many days where I wasn’t sure I wanted to live at all. And I kept doing it anyway. And then, one day – November 1st, 1988 – I had enough. I had tried many, many times to quit in the past. Mostly half-hearted attempts. None of them ever “took” for very long. But on that day everything changed. What happened, how I got there is all detailed in my book Feed Your Angel – it’s an incredible story. But – I got there. The bottom. The day I knew I could no longer live like that. And since that day, no drugs, no alcohol, new life. Why did it take fifteen years? A month later, I quit eating meat. I’ve been a vegetarian ever since. Two decisions, made a month apart in 1988 that have drastically changed the course of my life going forward. I never felt comfortable eating meat. Hunting has never interested me. I don’t understand at all how killing anything could ever be fun. I ate meat anyway until I was 29 years old, even though it felt hypocritical to me. Like – “I’ll never ever go kill my own food, but if someone else does it for me I’m OK with it”. Well, I needed to stop using before I could address how I ate. And once I quit using, and started thinking about making changes based on what I felt was morally correct, it became obvious to me very quickly I needed to stop eating meat and wearing animal products. Those were two huge decisions made a long time ago. But even today, I catch myself repeating behaviors I know do not serve me. Eating too much food/bad food (high sugar/salt content) late at night is one of them. I think this is one I’ve maybe struggled with my whole adult life. Once that habit is in place… a 10pm cookie run… or whatever we have in the pantry – well, it’s evening Dave vs. morning Dave. Evening Dave is like, “we can indulge just this once” (even though it’s been like ten years in a row) – and morning Dave wakes up fat and pissed off. So, I’ve really been looking into what and when I eat these days. I feel like I can do better in that area. And, in thinking about how we make decisions in life and how so many of them seem to come from being backed into a corner… I’m wondering if there maybe isn’t a way to catch something before it gets to that point. I’m not sure there really is, because before it gets to the bottom we usually know a bad habit doesn’t serve us, but it has to hit the breaking point before we actually will take action. And often, there are many attempts to change before we finally find the one person, method, or inspiration we need to actually internalize a new way of being. So many people have helped me along the way, as friends, as counselors, or just by their actions. Watching someone else conquer addiction, weight loss, smoking, anxiety/depression or anything else we’re struggling with gives us hope that we, too can get through it. And the path to a lifelong change begins with the first step. It’s how we learn. By screwing it up over and over until we can’t take it anymore. So – today I’ve decided morning Dave should be thankful instead of pissed off at evening Dave for his transgressions. Because those transgressions will lead to real, healthy change. That has certainly been my history 🙂

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