“Locked up, what else is new? Story of my life.”
I could hear the resignation in his voice, that this was his destiny and his life would always be revolving from being an addict, getting in trouble due to his addiction, serving jail time, coming out clean, then life’s pressures causing him to repeat the process.
“It’s not the story anymore. That’s the old one. You don’t have to go back to that.”
“Thanks, I appreciate that.”
I was sincere when I spoke to my uncle. I got a little animated, swore a couple times, but the point was across. Yes, you are an addict and you're in jail, but guess what; you’re also a father, a son, an uncle, a friend, a human being. So what do you want to be going forward? What are you going to focus on?
We’ve all made bad decisions that have left us in worse positions and while we’ll continue to not get everything right as we go through life, how we look at ourselves will help determine how we bounce back. Do we focus on the mistakes or the solutions going forward?
I failed at numerous relationships, put myself in a ton of debt, had alcohol issues, etc. When I held onto those failures, my life was a constant depression and failures seemed to find me easier than successes. My family and friends would call me Eeyore because how negative my outlook was.
When I finally turned the page on the old stories and created new ones based on what I wanted to be, then the better life happened. I look back now and feel sorry for that young me, just as I felt sorry for my uncle that had that negative outlook for himself.
As our conversation ended, I reminded him of the good he did for people as a sober recovering mentor, to keep the positive first and foremost, while practicing on leaving the negativity behind. I told him that we’re waiting for him to get out, that we’re going help him write a new life story.
A story he could be proud of.