Keep The Focus On Yourself.
Oh My God, it’s been close to 12 years now. Boy does time go fast. Yea, 12 years ago something happened, actually a lot of things happened but it all came down to making a decision. And looking back at it now, I didn’t know what I was doing all I know was that something had to be done. And a decision had to be made. Well I had two choices and I had to decide on one of the two, and I think that anybody in heir right state of mind would have done the same. However, I’ve run into many people since then that chose in the opposite direction that I did.
Choice #1, a choice that I was holding on to for some time.
Keep on doing the same thing, drink, drug and live an insane life. With this choice I was losing it all, my wife the kids, the house a decent job and most of all my freedom. On top of my health which unknowingly I was falling apart. How healthy could it be when I would drink and drug all day. Usually if I did eat or drink something it would be to come down and cover up. And when I would eat a meal, I would eat after I knew that I needed to eat to fall asleep so that I would be able to wake up in the morning and start the same ole insanity all over again. Can you believe it? And to believe that this world is massively populated with people that actually do live that way, buy choice.
At this point I didn’t know what it was. Oh yea! The choice was try to do something, anything to get out of going to jail. But what was to follow? Who knew? Defiantly not me. All I knew was that something had to change. So I made a phone call to a fellow who had suggested that maybe I should go away to a rehab for drugs and alcohol. And if I went to this rehab, maybe the Judge would have some leniency on me considering I was on probation for the past 15 years and I had accumulated 7 DUI’s (Driving While Under The Influence) and God know how many other charges.
So off I went. Left the wife and kids a few dollars, just enough to take care of the bills and I was gone for my twenty eight day stay. But something was just a little different this time, you see I had done this before. But this time I was honestly serious, I wanted it this time. Up to this day I don’t know what it was, but I gave those twenty eight days my best . And when I walked out of that rehab I did everything that they told me that I should do.
Now you know my choice.
And it was the best decision that I ever made. However, here is where the title of this story comes in to play. “Keep The Focus On Yourself.”
Upon leaving the rehab, the biggest suggestion was to follow up with a 12 step program of recovery. AA looked good to me. So I did as suggested. Now with that suggestion comes others, many others. But one of the was to get a sponsor. A sponsor is a man who has completed the 12 steps of recovery, who can help you do the same. Sponsor, mentor or pretty much an advisor. Just like in many self help programs a mentor is always a plus. In other words, find a person who has done what you wanted to do and do as they did. Easy enough, right?
So at my second meeting a grab a guy. I really didn’t know this guy very well, but he had a glow, he was smiling and he seemed very eager to help. So I ask; Pete will you be my sponsor? He replies with a question of his own: Joseph, what are you willing to do to get sober? I reply: Anything! Then he answers: Well you have yourself a sponsor.
Now Pete was full of suggestions.
But the one that has affected me to most was. Nope, not yet I have another story for you. My life was crazy, don’t think that just because you put down the drink my sponsor sprinkles a little pixy dust on me and all of my problems are gone, or does it? The reason I say this is because looking back, even though I was willing to do what Pete had suggested, I still found it not to make any sense. Let me explain.
One day I was feeling the pressure, you see my wife had decided to start drinking where I had left off. She was my drinking partner and only one of us had to make a change, at this point. Then my poor kids weren’t doing so well with all of the insanity. My house and bills were all a shambles and I had to fix it all. So I call up my trusty sponsor: Pete, my wife, my kids, my driver’s license, my job, the house I have to fix it all! And I’ll never forget it, Pete says: Joseph, Joseph, Joseph keep the focus on yourself and WATCH how everything else gets better. What Pete, that’s your flippin advise? As I thought to myself. I also remember thinking to myself: This guy is nuts, how the heck is keeping the focus on myself going to make my wife, my kids, my job any better? Honestly I think at that point I did have more faith in pixy dust. But I didn’t have any faith, or pixy dust but what I did have was a willingness. A willingness and I also had given this man my word. What was I willing to do? Anything.
With that, I gave it a shot. I kept the focus on myself, I went above and beyond to make myself better. I did everything that my sponsor told me to do. And even though I didn’t believe in half of the things that they told me to do I did them anyway without any questions. It was amazing, I worked on Joe 24-7 and you know what? Everything got better, It did.
And that’s my suggestion to you. Let me remind you that I never finished the 9th grade, but my sponsor told me to read. Today I study and read books written by Emerson, Emmet Fox, and Norman Vincent Peale just to mention a few. One of the most influential books I’ve read was As a Man Thinketh, by James Allen. Because I have been able to change my thinking and change my world. But this has all come true, because I was able to keep the focus on myself.