Change isn’t easy
I’ve posted my path to change for all of you to see. It was quite a heartwarming story if you were brave enough to read it all. One man takes on the world and succeeds. Yet I didn’t mention the full path that I took, or at least I didn’t mention how hard it was to change and that how sometimes I just wanted to give up and slip back into my old ways. Because for at least an entire year, I sat in my house as a hermit, albeit for the several hours that I went to work each day. But we’ll get into that later. In this post, I’m going to tell you why it was so hard to change. The steps that I took were so hard for me that it literally rocked the ground that I walked on. It wasn’t an easy ride. Change isn’t easy
I bet most of you that read stories of change roll your eyes and think, “People never change, or at least not in the way that they intend to” well I’m here to put a spanner in that thought process. I did change. I literally changed myself from the core of my being. I’m writing this to give hope to those that want to try or are in the middle of trying. To not give up, to keep going. Because change is good. Change is positive. If you’re sitting there wasting your life away when you could be educating yourself, viewing the world and changing it for the better, wouldn’t you want to at least attempt it?
Change isn’t easy. My first point of change was accepting that I was unwell. Not an alcoholic, or a drug addict, or a substance abuser, or anything like that. I accepted that I was unwell. Fundamentally I was unwell. The substance abuse was an effect of being unwell. It came as a shock to me one evening as I sat in a darkened room, darkened by the absence of electricity. I had opted to go out with my friends and have a barrel full of beer rather than paying for my electricity bill. Thus, I sat, thinking to myself in a darkened, unlit and empty room. I needed help. I was unwell. I needed help or I was going to end up in the same situation as I had always done since I was 19. It would get better for a long period; I’d start working, be happy and then I’d wash the pressure away with a barrel load of beer and I’d end up in the same situation as I was in now. People weren’t destined to repeat the same mistakes over and over. This is what I was doing. I needed help.
I sought help and help I received. But I only received this help because I was willing to be helped on the path to change. You see, people don’t help others that are unwilling. Believe it or not, it’s too much time and effort. They see a spark and they wrench it out of you for the world to see. If you aren’t willing, then it’s no use.
My next harsh lesson was reconnecting with those that I had wronged. Build up my bridges that I had previously burned. And you know, some of those bridges I had blasted out the foundations from underneath like some, “Bridge on the river Kwai” remake. Boom! This was probably the hardest and steepest journey I was to take in my entire life. And, you know; it involved a lot of me crying over the phone with my male friends. It wasn’t easy I shit you not. And I was sorry. I felt bad for the things I had done. The things that I had said. But I got there in the end. I think above all people respect truth and honesty. When you bare all and allow yourself to be vulnerable who knows what can happen.
That’s not to say some didn’t welcome me back with open arms. Because some didn’t. I’ve lost them forever. They will never be in my life again. But at least I tried to reconnect. I know I’m happy in myself that I made the move to apologise and extend a hand. Sometimes that’s just out of your control. People have their own minds and no amount of control I exert will change that.
Another hard lesson I learned was to realise my grip on control. Ever since I was a young boy and my Dad would lash out at me, hit me or belittle me I vowed never to let anyone have that kind of control over me again. I became a different person to the outside world. Real Raymond became a faceless entity tucked away inside me, hibernating until such a time that I needed him, whilst fake Raymond would be out there smiling at the world, pretending that everything was fine and agreeing with absolutely everyone. I was always on their best side. That way I could control them. I learned very quickly that one of the best ways to control people was to make them think I was really nice. They’d do my bidding then.
Letting go of control was hard. REALLY hard. Imagine me holding onto an extended trunk of a tree with my dear life as the Tsunami waters gushed passed me with all it’s unwanted debris, threatening to grab hold of me and suck me up into oblivion. That was what relinquishing control was like for me. To let people be their own people. To let people think what they want, do what they want and essentially be what they want. I always took issue with something or other. The unemployed, heavy people, religious people, work colleagues et al. I always wanted to have a say in their actions. Often I’d take to the Internet to voice my frustrations. Yet after letting go of that control life became so much easier. I stopped worrying about what other people were doing and started to concentrate on bettering MY life.
I remember my first brush with real actual accountability and I didn’t like it. I didn’t enjoy it one bit but I eventually became used to it. I ended up living a life by it. It was one summers day when I had to make a really important decision at work. Essentially it could make or break the service that I was trying to create. My manager was trying to get me to decide. I knew the weight that this decision would carry. Essentially it could end up helping thousands of people, or not. She said, “Look, mate, I’m not going to decide for you. It’s not my job to make your decisions for you.” And I had to make the decision. After a bit of grumbling protest. But I got there in the end. And that was me on the road to becoming accountable for my actions.
Much more to say but I think I’ve said enough for now. I hope I’ve helped you realise that change isn’t easy. You will have to work at it. And hard. But you’ll get there. I did. I made something of myself. There’s nothing stopping you!!