“Our lives will represent the rising of the phoenix if we allow it. Out of the fire and ashes of our crash and burn lives, we are offered a new beginning. And this Grace is offered over and over again.
This mythical bird never comes out of its ashes despondent and dejected; it arises with great power and beauty, undamaged and strengthened by the flames of its self-created fire. We can be encouraged by the power of this timeless myth to rise up—to be re-birthed— into a new beginning, a new opportunity and sometimes, a whole new life.”
This self created fire of the phoenix is what we could refer to as our Dark Night Of The Soul.
Before you can truly kill your false self and heal, you will need to experience the Dark Night Of The Soul.
It is not written about much, because people do not want to hear that you must be broken and leave almost everything you think you know behind.
For me, I was forced. It was like I was on a mountain and 3 lions were chasing me. I had to jump. I didn’t know what was on the other side. I was too scared to find out on my own. I was forced to find out. It was not courageous, it was a forced Dark Night Of The Soul.
I believe that addicts and those with mental health issues have those issues because they know on some level that mostly, we all are being fake.
Then, these same issues lead to the Dark Night Of The Soul and the suicide of the false self.
The Dark Night Of The Soul is a very painful and dark moment. However, It is darkest before the dawn.
This is my Dark Night Of The Soul:
Most people, when they speak about addiction and mental health issues, they will tell you of the terrible things that happen to them and their families. The awful days, the time in jail, institutions, everyone looking at your family and judging, and the hangovers.
I can tell you that is all true. Jail, mental hospitals, and destruction. I hid alcohol in dirty diapers so no one would look. I screwed up about every holiday and special occasion for 8 years. I went to jail and other institutions. I lost a 4 bedroom, 4 bathroom house. I lost a wife. I lost a daughter. I lost a best friend. I lost a Mercedes, I lost a BMW. I even lost a dog.
Yes, it is terrible. It is awful. It is also the best thing that ever happened to me.
Because I lost myself, I killed myself. My false self. I became enlightened through addiction and mental health issues, I refuse to call it mental illness anymore. How can I refer to it as an illness when it brings so many people home to their true selves?
I found out what was important. It was like in the movie “The Grinch who stole Christmas,” when the Who’s down in who-ville have all their presents ripped away from them. In the morning, with everything taken from them, they still sing, and they learn what Christmas is truly about.
Alcohol and mental health was my Grinch, it took everything from me that I THOUGHT was important. Although I am sad about the pain, I would not change a thing. The thing I am most grateful for is my alcoholism, drug addiction, mental health issues, and my recovery. Thank you alcohol and mental health, you are my Grinch.
Like the Grinch stated at the end of the movie, “Maybe Christmas is not about what you get in a store, maybe Christmas is about much more.”
Well, maybe life is about much much more than what we have:
Doctor: “She cannot have any more children, she is infertile.”
9 months later:
“Wake up, wake up, it is time to go!” Words we wait for, words I waited for my whole life. My wife says the words to me. It is time to wake up. It was time, it was time for my only son to be born. Something I had dreamt of my whole life. Something that seemed impossible 9 months ago.
Inside my head, the thinking was this:
“God I hope this is over so I can get a drink, this cannot be real. She is just faking it. I need to be able to drink tomorrow, it is Saturday, and I want to golf and drink.”
So the next morning, before I visited them, I went to have a drink. I wound up in the garage passed out all day while my family sat in the hospital. Everyone was there, all the relatives, and my now 3 kids awaited. I was passed out in a garage. Exposed for everyone to see.
I missed the first 3 days of his life. Then when he was a week old, after I had sworn off drinking and drugs, we were at a huge family gathering. I drank, and did drugs. I was driven to the hospital for treatment and I ran. I got out of the car and I ran as fast as I could.
I was run down by my 240 pound brother in law. How he outran me on that day I will never know. He was the tortoise, and he won the race. It was the most important race of my life, and I had to lose. Thankfully, he ran me down and drug me into the hospital. Then, I began to “wake up.”
It wasn’t one aha moment. It is a continual process, 1 step up, 2 back. Constantly learning, like an infant. Because that is what you are. You are being re born. People tend to think of waking up as a finale. That is completley wrong, it is a beginning. After the waking up comes serious trials and tribulations. This is a waking up, you are beginning again. Nothing about waking up is final, it is a start, not an end. Well, maybe a bit of both.
When she said, “It is time to wake up.” She was right. In more ways than one.
I now know what life is about, what is important. I know the reasons why we say do not judge people. I have seen the true power of love. The true power of forgiveness. I have seen magic. I have seen what it feels like to be at the end, with nowhere to go, and people thinking you are some monster. Being annihilated brings a sort of freedom that I can not explain.
I have seen how we get caught up in money, and in things. I know the emptiness we feel, yes we are empty. However, we are all part of one, we belong to each other, and to the earth.
We must love each other. Little things do not disturb me, my thoughts are just that, thoughts. I let them pass. I observe them and watch what they can do to me if I let them.
It is ok to feel emotions, they are a sign.
I finally decided to be my true self, the one I was hiding for so many years. The one that wants to love everyone and tell everyone how great they are. The one that writes, and finds beauty in every moment. The one who talks openly about everything. The one who has let go of what the results are. The one that just puts himself out there. And you know what, I do not need a substance to do that. I never did, that was an illusion.
Others still try to push that true self down. Sometimes, they are successful. Sometimes I put the mask back on. Sometimes, I am very afraid.
The others that try to push down my true self benefit from the false self I created.
However, recovery taught me about resentments, and cleaning my side of the street. I have learned to love myself, to have gratitude, to have affirmations and meditation. To have a good group of people that you trust. Do not be ashamed if you relapse. Shame creates isolation, fear, and depression. The result of that is more relapses.
Be open, it does happen. Learn from it and it is not a mistake. It then becomes a learning experience.
Our family is back. We live a humble life. We teach love. I see people for who they are, I see the good in them. I refuse to push this true self down.
Others pushed the true self down before, that is where the drinking came in, because it helped bring him out.
Now I sing out loud, act goofy, play, speak my emotions, love, and let the thoughts go.
I am at peace. And it is all because of my addiction and recovery. There was pain, but because of the pain came great joy. It was like getting a second chance at life, it was a rebirth. I got to find out who I am, and I still do that every day. Every moment builds on the new me. I am still creating myself.
Focus on right now. Do the very best you can in this moment. Then repeat.
My son’s birthday is June 30th. He is too young to read this. Hopefully, when I’m gone, someone will show this to him. Maddoc, you are my miracle. My phoenix, my proof of the true power of love. Whatever comes your way in life, carry your head high. Your life started by saving mine.
I held him so tight when I finally got a hold of him. People were gathered, whispering, and rolling their eyes. I cried and whispered to him:
“No one believes I can do it, and I don’t even know if I can do it. But I’m going to try my best, little buddy. I’m going to use this love to try. No more. Let’s be born together.”
Focus on right now. Do the very best you can in this moment. Then repeat.
My son was born June 30, and a week later, so was I.
“Wake up, it’s time to wake up.”
Thank you addiction. Thank you mental health.