Many recovering addicts can identify a single event that forced a life-changing decision to stand up to their deepest fears. My event occurred the day I screamed at my older son for laughing too loud. He was six years old. I was forty-three. Like so many people whose well-intended thoughts are dominated by a need for external stimulants, my life had become unmanageable. I was losing complete control and needed to do something.
But I was not addicted to any tangible destructive thing. There was no anon-group to discuss or even share my situation. Instead I was addicted to an image. An all-consuming image that shrouded my true hopes and dreams. An image that could be best described as a golden ring to control the way life, ‘should be.’
To grasp this image, I tirelessly pursued knowledge and acted upon logical solutions. I devoted myself to expanding my business, strengthening my faith in God, exerting my influence in politics. I learned to follow the examples of my heroes, and looked ahead with determination and passion. I had big visions to be like Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Rachel Carson, and even Gandhi.
What a pompous ass. While my kids had no choice, I am fortunate that my wife, family, and friends, stayed with me.
But the cause of my addiction made no sense to anyone, especially me. After all, where is the problem with a determined approach to learning from others, building a great business, or making the world a better place? How could I have been so unhappy in a beautiful home, with a loving family, healthy children, support from friends, building and rebuilding a rewarding business? Somehow there was such a major disconnect between what I knew about goal setting and the anxiety I felt towards everything. Looking around at my good fortune, everything seemed so illogical. The disconnect made things worse. I found deeper forms of desperation.
Then I met a friend. He also was a parent, a teacher, a son, a husband, and a brother with dreams to leave a meaningful legacy. He also had been consumed by the image of a golden ring to control the way life 'should be.'
Yet, while saying hardly a word about his own despair, just like me, my friend had also been spiraling and silently suffering. He was afraid for his future and needed to do something.
This awareness literally brought me to my knees. I was weak with humility and also a prayer. Who found who? I asked myself over and over again. Who found who?
As a recovering addict who is never free of his affliction, I had a different vision.
That is why I wrote this book.