Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. - George Bernard Shaw
Changing oneself is often one of the hardest thing that we as people can undertake, but there comes a time in almost everybody's life where we have to change or continue living our lives in a way that dont want to. And recognizing and accepting the need for change is often as hard as the actual process of changing is itself. So the whole ordeal is not an easy one but a necessary one and thats what we have to accept.
So as I sit here writing this at 19 years of age you might be wondering what I know of change, and you'd be right to ask because i've asked myself that same question many times before. So before I begin let me try and answer that question. I consider myself a thoughtful person and as such a reflective person as well. This has led me to think over the things that I have both experienced myself and seen others experience that have helped to shape me into who I am today. I have seen members of my family destroy themselves because they refused to recognize that they needed to make a change in their lives. I have seen people I care about push me away because they are too afraid to make the change that they readily admit that they need, and all of it hurts. So I want to think that I know about change, and whether or not I do is up to you to decide.
So let me tell you my story.
Alcoholism runs in my family and I have seen it ruin people I care about, and it very nearly ruined my life as well. As a sophomore in college I am exposed to alcohol fairly regularly, but as many young people I had that mindset of "Oh I'll never get addicted to alcohol - that won't happen to me." Even though I knew I had a genetic predisposition towards becoming an alcoholic I chose to drink anyways. In my freshman year things began slowly as I had never been in a position to drink before. As I reached the second semester things began to change and only when I look back at it now can I recognize those changes. I had begun to base my weekends around drinking albeit drinking with friends but drinking nonetheless. After an incident at the end of the year where I sprained my wrist bruised my ribs and lost my ipod - none of which I remembered - you would have thought that maybe I would have had an idea that there was a problem developing, but no.
With summer coming around my opportunities to drink dwindled down to essentially none, and as such there was no problem. And with end of one of the hardest periods of my life I was looking forward to going back to school and seeing my friends, and with my friends came alcohol. Should also mention that this semester has been the hardest of my entire academic life which placed stress on me the likes of which I had never felt before. So to begin winding down this story, I can summarize it like this - in a period of 2 months I almost died 3 times and wound up in the drunk tank twice, I almost got myself kicked out of college and essentially ruined my life. I needed to change something in my life before I ruined it. And so I sought the help of an alcohol counselor who honestly didn't do anything for me, but they did recommend that I go to AA and so I did, and I've learned some things from my time there. I am not an alcoholic I do not think about drinking alcohol, and alcohol does not control my life. What I learned was that I have the potential to become an alcoholic and I need to avoid it in order to avoid ruining my life. I am a problem drinker with an addictive personality I cannot change the fact that I have an addictive personality but what I can change is who and what I am surrounded by.
There is a reason I shared this story with you - and that is because I want you all to understand that you don't need to come so close to the edge of ruin like I did. I believe that all of us know when we need to change something in our lives and so the problem lies not in us figuring out that we need to change but in recognizing that need. If I had only taken the time to look in the mirror and think for a second I would have known what I had needed to do far sooner and I would have saved a lot of people a lot of hurt and worry. So I want to end this with a challenge and a quote - I want to all of you who know you are flawed and know you need to change to take a step forward the distance does not matter so as long as you are going forward and not backwards.
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. - Barack Obama