I started drinking and smoking weed when I was 11, and from the get-go, I could drink everyone I knew under the table.
Using alcohol and drugs was what we did in my family. This was the legacy into which I was born and raised. It’s how we coped with life. And God knows there were a lot of ups and downs to be reckoned with. Awakening to even the idea that there might be another way and that getting obliterated or dying weren’t the only solutions, and perhaps there was a different path, happened over time.
It started the day my Dad died, a week before my 19th birthday when I sensed something was not right about Mom giving us Valium, as we struggled with grief. At the funeral after-party, everyone was drinking in celebration of Dad’s life, and I remember wanting to stand up and say out loud, “What are you people doing? Don’t you know the man just drank himself to death?” Who knows what they knew. After all, the obituary said he died of a “blood disorder.” I stopped drinking for a year after that.
And when I was 24, I took my last drink, which means I haven’t ingested alcohol in almost 33 years.
What, you might wonder, would possess a 24-year old to quit drinking? How is that even possible? Or, why, for God’s sake, would I even want to attempt that? Though I looked good on the outside, the path, as seen from the inside, was dim, self-destructive, and chaotic. It was no way to live.
I realized if I wanted to be able to do more than just survive, and to do that without using drugs or alcohol, I had to get curious and start digging.
What was this family I was born into? How did we get to this place? What were the parts of the story I didn’t know? I contacted people I hardly knew in my family and asked a lot of questions. With each new piece of the story that unfolded, it felt like I cried another bucket of tears.
It was the work of a lifetime to face what I was learning, and I began to see how what was unfolding was exactly what I needed to break free of the clutches of the past, and to forge a new path.
If you are wondering if it’s time for you to take another road, I offer some information below that may help you begin the journey.
Here are 10 Tips to Help You Forge A New Path:
- Get and stay curious.
- Experiment with noticing the ways you try to escape reality (without judging yourself).
- Ask yourself what story you are making up about what you are doing or how you are showing up to life.
- Start working on letting go of something you are doing that is hurting you.
- Watch how resistance to change shows up.
- Feel the fear and do it anyway.
- Get all the help you need. Allow yourself to connect with others. Shame cannot endure when we expose it to light.
- Do whatever it takes to be the best version of you. Fight for yourself.
- Remind yourself, every day, that you are precious and worthy, and give yourself permission to cry.
- Stay willing to learn and grow. The life you save might just be your own.
Do you have any tips that have helped you forge new paths that didn’t get mentioned above? Please share your experiences with us in the comments section below!