“When I think back on my growth. Both personal and spiritual. One of the biggest turning points in my life was being able to say thank you to a compliment because I believed it”
“Growing and becoming a better person takes time, effort, and patience. For example. Just after getting rid of all my inner Demons, a few years ago. Some outer ones came along.”
Being an only child, I have a lot of fun by myself and do some pretty immature things for my personal amusement. I sometimes make up words to songs I’m listening to and even sing to them in a foreign language that’s unrecognizable because it’s made up.
I also talk to myself and find I’m actually good company.
An example of this would be the other morning. I was pouring orange juice into a glass (a daily drink I find both tasty and refreshing) and almost knocked the glass over. I immediately stopped pouring and said out loud. “That was a close one,” before resuming my quest to add just the right amount. However, when I did, I actually spilled some all over the counter and exclaimed. “That was even closer!”
Maybe you don’t see the humor in this, but the only child in me thought it was funny and quite witty.
The reason for sharing this is that at one time in my life—a time I call my drinking days. I would have gotten angry over something like this and used a few select words that grownups call swearing. Not that I don’t still get mad at times and curse. I find using the F-Bomb can be very therapeutic under certain circumstances. But it feels good to be able to laugh at things like this and to be able to laugh at myself. (Being able to laugh at ourselves is a sign of growth and a great asset to have in one’s life.)
Although I act immature at times, and have “only child syndrome“—a term that is actually real. The growth I’ve experienced in my sobriety has done more than just allow me to laugh at myself. It has also enabled me to love myself.
I never thought about whether or not I loved myself as a child. (Maybe that’s just part of being one.) But I know I didn’t love myself as a teenager, and certainly not as an adult.
It took several years of sobriety and the growth I mentioned to achieve self-love. And even then it took a couple of more years to be happy with who I was.
An only child who not only finds them-self to be good company. But someone who has learned to find humor in things that aren’t worth getting upset about.
An emotional excerpt from my book. I was writing about an AA speaker’s meeting in 2004, where I shared my story to celebrate my eighth year anniversary sober.
“I would also reach my eighth year sober that month and once again share my story. This time, however, not only was my wife there, but my daughter as well, and it would be a very emotional day for me. I was fine in the beginning, but when I got to the part about how I often chose drinking over being with my children, I began crying and had to stop for a few seconds. I was still quite emotional as I told everyone that despite this, my daughter was still a daddy’s girl when she was little, and after explaining how this changed as she grew older, I once again had to stop as I sat there and cried. I finally regained my composure, and confessed how sorry I was for not spending more time with both of my children, and then talked about other regrets I had because of my drinking. Although my daughter and son weren’t exposed to every argument I started with my wife, they both heard more than they should have growing up, and as I was telling them this, tears once again came to my eyes. Other people started crying too, including my wife and daughter, and after a few moments passed, I went on to explain how my drinking had affected the whole family.
I also shared what my daughter had recently said about my drinking and the impact it had on her personally. She moved out when she was 18, and she said it took her a few years to come to terms with certain things from her childhood. I then added that what was important to me now, was that she had forgiven me, and that my relationship with her and my son was good today.
I then went on to say that I believed this was made possible because of how the Twelve Steps helped me stay sober and change as a person, and explained how this change also helped me believe in the possibility that something created life and the universe for a reason. After that, with time running out, I pulled a piece of paper out of my pocket and told them that another reason I believe what I do is because of this poem my daughter wrote for me last Christmas. I then cried a little as I added that even though she may never be a daddy’s girl again, this poem shows she loves me and has forgiven me.
If you taught me just one thing
It is to love with all you have
But you taught me so much more
Through the good times and the bad
You showed me how to feel
Or at least passed this along
Even when I felt pain
You taught me to hold on
You proved that anyone can change
If you look within yourself
Even if you are feeling lonely
There is no need for someone else
You see the good in people
And have no tolerance for hate
I keep this in mind wherever I go
Even if I am always late
Genes have given me your sense of humor
I am goofy just like you
But you have made me realize
I can laugh at myself, too
There is no shame in crying
But self-pity is a waste of time
You and I have learned together
The power of the mind
You encourage me to believe
In more than just this life
Even when things look all gray
I know it will soon be all right
You are aware of your past
And have learned from your mistakes
You have taken your weaknesses
And turned them into strengths
You have shown me how to face your fears
And always tell the truth
Everyday heroes do exist
And you are living proof
The times when you thought you had failed
The times when you didn’t know what to do
These are the moments you had no idea
That I would learn so much from you
“No matter how simple they may seem, setting and achieving goals are important for our personal growth. I set a goal yesterday to drive from Rehoboth Beach, DE to York, PA without stopping, and I did it. I peed my pants twice along the way. But the point is I didn’t stop.”
“Arrogance can be a sign of self-confidence, or it can be a sign of insecurity. Either way; it’s not appealing, and certainly a sign we need to grow.”
We don’t have to grow spiritually to love ourselves and be happy in life, but it can help us have an open mind. Having an open mind can help us understand ourselves and our behaviors better. When we understand ourselves and why we do some of the negative things we do, we can change those behaviors and grow as a person.
Growing as a person can also help us have an open mind. Having an open mind can help us understand others and their behaviors better. When we understand others and why they do some of the negative things they do, we can have more empathy and compassion for them.
Having empathy and compassion for people can help us grow spiritually. We don’t have to grow spiritually to love ourselves and be happy in life, but it can help us love others and be happy with who we are.