Monday, May 29, 2017
How The Heck Are You? Memorial Day 2017: Freedom
I've been whining a lot lately about being trapped and feeling helpless, but the fact is, I've never been trapped, I've always had the choice to stand up for myself, to fight! Sometimes I just chose not to. For many years, I convinced myself I was imprisoned by alcohol, but I never was, I just chose not to fight my way out of my prison. Then, when I finally decided to fight my way out, I surrendered, many times, and I convinced myself that I wasn't strong enough, that I'd never win, that the fight was hopeless, that I might as well give up, even that I didn't even really want to win. All so I could surrender and drink, because that was easier than fighting.
There was no enemy, no jailer, no locked door, no gun to my head keeping me in misery, I chose to keep myself imprisoned, I chose to not fight for myself. Oh, don't get me wrong, there were opponents, almost too many to count-addiction, habit, relationships, regrets, fear, lack of self-esteem, lack of self-love, lack of commitment, ....if I wanted I could conjure up as many opponents necessary to convince myself that the battle was lost, I might as well just surrender and drink.
And, that's what I did over and over and it took sighting death in my very near future to finally stand up and truly fight for my life and to keep standing up and refusing to surrender. That's what it took for me to be a soldier for myself. I am in awe of you that fought your way to freedom earlier and I salute you. But in the end it doesn't matter who wins early and who wins late, because the battle is all our own, we are fighting alone. We aren't fighting for others and they can't fight for us, as much as we want them to, as much as we keep waiting for someone to step forward and pull us over the line to freedom, it's never going to happen because we have to cross that line all on our own. The soldiers on the field with us and the veterans on the other side can't fight our battles for us, they can't save us, unlike "real" soldiers on a battlefield, they can't throw themselves on a bomb to save us. We have to finally climb out of our foxholes and fight our way, all the way, without backing down and without going back. Freedom from drinking is an individual privilege, you have to earn it, but all you have to do is choose it. Every day. Over and over.
Today is Memorial Day, a day to honor soldiers who fight for freedom. I'm going to continue to fight for mine and I challenge you to stand up and fight for yours beside me. I can't fight your battle and you can't fight mine but we can keep reminding each other to keep fighting.
Today, I'm feeling courageous and grateful, how the heck are you?