My Connection With Adele

This blog post is different from any other one I have written, and after I finished writing it I almost didn’t post it. I’m not one to go on about celebrities, especially when they’re young enough to be my daughter, but that last statement is one of the reasons I decided to share it. Read on and I think you’ll have a better understanding of why I feel a connection with someone I never met.

From what I understand, some of Adele’s songs speak of the emotional ups and downs she has experienced due to a failed relationship. I too have had my share of emotional ups and downs, and although they were for a different reason, I still feel a connection with her because of the way she writes and sings about her life.

Through her wonderful voice she reaches millions of people, and I believe she is an inspiration to many of them. I also have a voice through my writing. I talk about the struggles we can have in life, but more importantly, about triumphing over them. I don’t reach millions of people like Adele, but I like to think that I have been an inspiration to people through my voice too.

There’s another reason I feel some type of connection with Adele, and why I like this young lady so much. I will tread lightly here though, as I understand that unlike me, she is a very private person.

As you may know, I call myself a recovered alcoholic and I’m not ashamed to do so. What you may not know is that I have a daughter eight years older than Adele. She is also a singer who has written songs about the emotional ups and downs she’s been through in her relationships. Besides this, Adele’s father is reported to be an alcoholic, and although my relationship with my daughter is good and her experiences with me as an alcoholic father weren’t all bad, it did have an impact on her.

I can’t say what impact Adele’s father being an alcoholic might have had on her, and because of my promise to tread lightly, I won’t speculate about it. I will just say that despite my daughter’s childhood and Adele’s, they both turned out to be very good people.

Below is something I wrote about Adele last year that I shared in a forum especially for her. Yes I did that. I will add that I could have easily been talking about my daughter, which is another reason why I decided to share this. 

Let me say how wonderful it is to see someone just sing. No dressing in crazy costumes, or acting out in bizarre behaviors. Of course talent is needed to capture ones attention, and Adele certainly has that. She seems like a confident person, and I believe she is a much-needed example of what a good person is.” —Darryl Duke


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A Quiet Confidence

Whether we’re aware of it or not, there are different levels of things we experience both in life and as a person. For instance. There are different levels of wealth or debt we occur. Different levels of happiness we experience. Different levels of love we feel for people. Different levels of faith one can have. And for the sake of this writing, there are different levels of confidence we can have in ourselves.

For some of us, it takes time and different experiences to grow more self-confident, and there are occasions when we need to talk to someone when we have doubts in our lives. Doing so can help us uncover any underlying fears and insecurities we may have and better understand why we have them.

I have a lot of confidence in myself these days, but it certainly doesn’t mean I’m more confident than some of you reading this, or that I’m completely free of insecurity. But I know that as long as I’m willing to learn from certain things I go through, and use what I learn to improve on myself, my confidence will continue to grow. One of  the more recent experiences that helped me reach a higher level of self-confidence was going to college.

I first dreamed of going back to school in 2003, and although I would get quite an education through helping people with addictions and counseling teenagers, I still always wanted to attend college someday. I believe education can add to our personal growth, and when circumstances came into play that would allow me to obtain an associate degree in drug and alcohol counseling, I was excited for the opportunity. I must admit, though, that while I thought I already knew a lot about counseling and addiction, I would learn many more things, and I would also learn more about myself.

I really enjoyed going to college. In some ways it reminded me of when I was in high school. Just like back then, I would often display a sense of humor in the classroom and have fun with some of the teachers.

Besides being the funny guy at times, I also participated in discussions we had in some of the classes. I liked sharing my thoughts on whatever the topic was, and I could be quite passionate about it at times. Most people didn’t seem to mind, and a few would say they liked what I shared, which made me feel good, but I could tell a few of them didn’t care about my views. I just wrote it off as thinking they just didn’t get me, but something would happen later that year to make me see there was more to my active participation than I realized.

In one of my classes during the last semester, just after one of my soap box exhibitions about something I don’t even remember now, someone joked about me going on for so long and a young lady, who was actually defending me, spoke up and said. “He just has a lot to say.” Everyone laughed, including me and the teacher, but it opened my eyes to the fact that I had been feeling a very strong need to share my views all the time. A lot of what I had to say came from the passion I felt about helping others, and participating in class seemed like the perfect outlet for it. But after that day, I made it a point to try to show more restraint in sharing my views and I often sat quietly while others shared theirs.

In my second year, although I continued to show restraint in most discussions, something began changing inside of me, and by the time the last semester got under way I knew there was more to my need to share than just passion. During that semester, I didn’t always agree with some of the things we talked about in class or with certain things I read in some of the books about addiction. Much of what we discussed from these books had to do with stereotypical alcoholics and addicts, and I felt the class needed to hear more about people like me who didn’t drink everyday, but still had a problem.

I was also proud of the knowledge I had obtained from working with people with addictions and it frustrated me when I felt some of my views weren’t being taken seriously. This wasn’t actually the case, as I knew some of the students liked and trusted what I had to say, but it’s how I allowed myself to feel at times. Fortunately, though, as the semester progressed I would realize what was actually making me feel the way I did.

I had begun having doubts earlier that year about some of my personal views on counseling and addiction and I let it affect my self-confidence. I also felt like my identity was slipping away and I no longer felt as good about myself as I once did. The good news, though, was that I fought these insecurities and I was determined to emerge with what I would later call a quiet confidence. One where I didn’t feel the need to have all the answers and could simply sit back and let others share their views.

Finally, as the semester was coming to an end, I began exhibiting this new-found confidence and it felt good knowing that once again self-awareness and my drive to grow had paid off. I left school with more knowledge than I had before and I was now able to show more confidence in my personal life as well.

A quiet confidence where I no longer feel the need to have all the answers, and I’m able to sit back and listen to what others have to say in life.

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