Ranch Rant – Anniversary of Freedom

“Costs a lot to win, even more to lose. You and me bout to spend some time wondering what to choose. Goes to show you don’t ever know, watch each card you play and play it slow.”

I was gambling for 6 good solid years before I decided to give sobriety a real try. As of today, March 25th 2013, I have been alcohol free for two years and drug free for three years, I am a few months away from starting my 25th year ranching around. And damn it feels good to be FREE. I’ve been subject to a few degrees of imprisonment, as we all have at one point or another. A cycle, no, a web of substance abuse is no longer one of them. The only dragon I’m chasing is happiness. Now, there is no escaping my reality, my feelings, my troubles, my past, my shortcomings or anything at all really. Can you dig it?

Meeting all this life and the unaltered moment head on, now that’s as weird as it gets, that’s the real trip. Pain, worry, disappointment, fear are no longer strangers but instead become teachers. And without the often destructive ramifications of binging and frying ones circuits, things prove to be a whole lot less scary and fucked up. Before you know it, a bad luck streak can become the most successful year of your life. A bus full of strangers looks more like people then monsters. Apologies are easier, mistakes are fewer, dishonesty is harder. The great idea you had that could change the world is one that you remember in the morning. Clarity in all it’s forms replaces the detached hustle of working against one’s own natural current. Whereas for years it seemed like I was always trying to match really shitty incidents with really amazing ones and often failing; these days the positive news and goodness manifests and compounds one atop the other. That is how I’m getting high, by living up there atop comfortable clouds of contentment.

Enlightenment is really only being shown the light, the truth in a fog of uncertainty. And I can say today that I no longer walk within the haze of ignorance or indifference to the realities and risks and repercussions stemming from the misuse and abuse of drugs and alcohol  I was able to give up my “everything in moderation” attitude and get educated on what is really going on within my body and my reasoning center when I consume any  substance in any amount. Understanding is key to surviving, I think that much is clear. And people living in our society today, must learn to survive, not on the battlefields against an evil regime, but in our own homes against the woes of addiction. I denounce the risky business of raging way too hard and forgetting that we have fragile minds that require a certain amount of consciousness in order to not crash and burn.

I for one am not afraid to remember the lives of Austin Stewart, Willie Ford, Britt Walker, Austin Peralta, Charles Cooper, Heath Ledger, Amy Winehouse and many other souls I’ve come across in one way or another in my life, who left theirs’ too early because of an unaddressed or misunderstood addiction to drugs and alcohol. Everybody wonders why these horrible accidents happen to such good people and I say it is to be a reminder of how much effort we need to give to be mindful of what we are consuming and how and when and WHY, and to see the power you have to help others when you see a problem or a dangerous addiction that they can’t understand themselves.

If you are lucky enough to have big dreams and to have something that you love deeply about living, than there is no reason to wait around for some comfortable and opportune time to give up using a particular substance that just hasn’t been working out in your favor or to ask for help to combat the messy quicksand of addiction. Pride swallowed, ego checked and mind open to a new perspective and different way of living that is always better than before. There need be no allegiances to habits, brands, strands, lifestyles that have proven destructive for you. Our energy and obsession should be channelled into ideas, people, choices and experiences that create light and beauty in our lives. Not an easy task, but important decisions shouldn’t be easy. Most days I have to ask myself if sobriety is really what’s right for me, not even because I am tempted, but because it has payed off so well for me that I am not willing to compromise it. Here’s to knowing what actions you took in the past that had zero meaningful, lasting effects on your life and never do them again. Thank you prefrontal-cortex, I owe you one.

Thanks to everyone who has supported me these past few years, big things lie ahead. Thanks to my friends who continue to have my back and watch out for me and accept me as the sober rager that I am. Thanks to the nameless people I’ve met at meetings and out in the world, whose honestly regarding their own recovery has provided me with invaluable insight. Thanks to my Dad for setting a good example, learning from his mistakes and always giving the best, most humbling advice. We always keeps it movin’. Rocking into the future. Blessing UP. Going further. Staying shpongled, weird and LostinSound. And of course, Using Our Heads.

Love and gratitude,

Richard William

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