Age is nothing but a number. It’s such a cliché line that we’ve all heard a thousand times. It’s an easy way out when the numbers are stacked up against us, but it’s also the truth. Age is more of a mindset than it is a concrete figure.
I’m 40 years old. In typical criminal, addict, thug, ticking time bomb fashion I didn’t think I’d ever see this age, let alone the decades leading up to it. Life is full of surprises and somehow the crazy storm of my life carried me here. I’m engaged to a beautiful 29 year old woman. Some might jokingly say that I’m “robbing the cradle” in this relationship, but honestly maybe it’s not as drastic of a difference as it sounds.
See, for about 12 years of my life I drank and drugged every single night and day of my life. The only times during that period that I wasn’t high or intoxicated is when I was in jail, or prison, and even then I managed to find ways of mental escape. That’s 10 years of my life that my maturation and progression came to a complete stop. Mentally, emotionally, even physically at the age of 23 I was walking around with the same traits of the 13 year old me that had started drinking every single night. A life consumed with drugs and alcohol will inevitably stunt your growth. There is no way around it, you cannot advance or evolve while your life is built around the obsession of finding, and using your drug of choice.
Most of us stumble into a life of recovery, shake the dust off only to realize we are years maybe even decades behind our peers, not only financially and materialistically but also mentally and emotionally. We then race ahead trying to play catch up with our peers, crying about how unfair it is that we aren’t on equal terms and don’t have the lives that they have, even though we were the ones who squandered our previous years away chasing a chemical. The mistake that many people in recovery make is that they chase all of the financial and material goals head first, trying so very badly to catch up with all of their peers, and yet completely neglect the spiritual, mental, and emotional aspects that also never matured and were stunted. These things are not visible to others at first sight and so the newly recovered addict neglects them and instead works on catching up the outer appearance in order to compete with peers and attract sexual partners. It is not until those partners get close enough that they realize that this addict is still toxic, and has not developed their inner self.
When I went through treatment in the 90s, things were different, they weren’t so politically correct and so they called these people “dressed up garbage cans”. I, myself was a dressed up garbage can for awhile, focused only on fresh clothes, and shoes, working out and filling my ego with attention from the opposite sex. It is only by the grace of God that I stayed clean during that time, most don’t. If we don’t focus on evolving and growing our inner condition, even before we focus on our outer condition we are almost destined to fail. This is the greatest cause of relapse.
Make no mistake about it. When you first put down that drug for good you are emotionally and mentally the same age as the day you first picked it up. You need to remember this accordingly. I spent 12 years in heavy active addiction, that means I may be 40 years old on paper, but in reality I’m only 28. I’ll take those numbers any day of the week. Turn your negative into a positive outlook! 😁. God bless!