I believe I had a lot to do with creating my path in life, both in my drinking days and in my sobriety. The one I created in my drinking days, while not always bad, wasn’t the way I wanted to live though.
I quit drinking on April 27, 1996, and for the next several years I attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings on a regular basis and faithfully followed the Twelve Steps. I still believe that meetings and the Steps are important; they help many people stay sober and find happiness without a substance. However, as some of my views about recovery began to differ with those written in the AA literature, I took my next step—finding meaning and greater happiness on my own.
Because I wanted more out of life, I set out to find a reason for why we’re here, and the knowledge I obtained not only helped me find greater happiness, but a sense of purpose. Today I have hope that something created life and the universe for a reason and a much stronger belief in my own capabilities.
Although I had a hand in creating my path, whether I have the power to create every aspect of my life remains to be seen. I do believe, however, that we have more power than we know, and if we choose to, we can create our own happiness.
One way I do this is by helping others. I wrote the Five Basic Concepts of Creating Our Path (COP). You can click on An Idea Before Its Time to read more about it.
My hopes are that along with my book and my blog, Creating Our Path meetings will help end the shame and stigma associated with addiction.
Five Basic Concepts of Creating Our Path
1. We are capable of creating our happiness through the Six Selves
Self-Awareness– Understanding the emotions behind our thoughts and behaviors. Knowing our strengths, but also where we need to grow.
Self-Improvement– Changing negative thoughts and behaviors to positive ones. Seek knowledge in a variety of subjects. Search for answers needed to grow as a person. Be open-minded to others values and beliefs. Practice love, kindness, understanding, and tolerance toward others.
Self-Confidence/Self-Esteem– What do we like about ourselves?
Practice love, kindness, understanding, and tolerance toward ourselves.
Self-Love– the instinct or desire to promote one’s own well-being; regard for or love of one’s self.
Self-Actualization– the realization or fulfillment of ones talents and potentialities; considered as a drive or need.
2. We are capable of changing ourselves for the better
We understand the power of changing any negative thoughts and beliefs we hold about ourselves,others, and life in general.
3. We are capable of changing our lives for the better
We understand how important behaving and living differently is to our sobriety and happiness.
4. We are capable of loving ourselves and others
We become more receptive and excepting of love.
We are able to forgive ourselves and others more quickly.
5. We are capable of being happy with who we are
We realize how being happy with ourselves sustains us in times of uncertainty and unwanted circumstances.
We are able to laugh at ourselves and embrace all that we are.
“We don’t have to call ourselves alcoholics or addicts to attend COP meetings. We can be problem drinkers, substance abusers, or simply someone who’s no longer happy using a drug. All I wish COP meetings to be is a place for people and, if so inclined, their family members, to come together and help each other grow.”
—Darryl S. Duke