September 24, 2012

Reflections and Challenges

“I didn’t always learn from my experiences when I could. Good thing I took good notes.”

Your life is a huge virtual classroom and there are lessons being taught everyday.  Be a good student — pay attention, listen closely, ask for help.  

As many of you know, the trigger for 100Pedals started with my experiences with Brandon’s addiction.  The chaos, the pain, the disruptive behaviors all took me on a path through my adversity to a better sense of clarity, purpose, and opportunity.  It has been a difficult journey, I continue to struggle and learn through my issues and his.  For the most part, I have discovered, learned, lived, and experienced a great deal.

While the tipping point in this journey may have started with Brandon’s life choices, much of what I have shared is more of a compilation of the lessons, experiences, and reflection throughout my life.  We are all students in our lives.  What we live, what we do, the choices we make, and the decisions others make around us are all learning opportunities.  What we learn, how much we learn, what we internalize, and how we apply those lessons are dependent upon who we are as students.  Just as we all have a unique style, personality, and gifts, we also all learn differently.

I was a lousy student in school.  I am not too sure I was always the best student in life.  I didn’t always learn from my experiences when I could.  Good thing I took good notes.  Fortunately I have a good memory and have been blessed with the ability to recall and reflect on the  lessons that were offered me even when I didn’t absorb the teachings at the time.

While my experiences with Brandon’s chaos triggered in me a willingness to change, learn, and trust, I was also fortunate I had a wonderful library to draw upon, as well.  This has been a great blessing to me.  I have a lot to learn from and the lessons can still apply today.

Today’s article emanates from a recent conversation I had with Brandon.  I started thinking about all stuff we all go through.  While I am not an accomplished student of the Twelve Step program on Alcoholics Anonymous, I have a pretty solid handle on the first three. Wherever we are in our life, whether we believe in a spiritual being or not, and whether our challenge is related to addiction or not; these first three steps are a wonderful, inspirational, and poignant lesson for each of us as we embrace adversity and change.

As I look at these three steps, I am going to provide the straight quote and then offer my thoughts on how I embrace, internalize and live these three thoughts.  I hope you find something for you in this, as well.

  1. Our lives had become unmanageable.”  I am not happy with the life I am living.  I desire a change, I know I am capable of living a more fulfilling, inspiring, happy, and peaceful life.  I am committed to discovering something better, because I know this is not working for me.
  2. A power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”  Whatever it is I need to do, I know that I cannot do it alone.  I do not have the strength, experience, resources, or abilities to manage this transformation alone.  I will need the wisdom, guidance, and support of something that is collectively more capable than me.
  3. Turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.”  I will trust the wisdom of those I surround myself with.  I will not focus on what I want to do, but I will trust in them to guide me to what I need to do. Because I have trusted these resources, I will not try to change or control their guidance; but, I will internalize, listen, and believe in them.  I chose them because I trust them, in order for this change to occur my actions must reward and demonstrate that trust.

It is never easy to make the changes necessary in our lives.  It takes work, time, and an unrelenting commitment. Most importantly, you cannot do it alone.  Your trusted resources are the key.  You cannot get there by yourself or by fighting with yourself.  Find your resources, embrace them, commit to them, and trust them — that is what they are there for.

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About Dave Cooke

Dave Cooke is a dad on a mission. His mission is to help parents get control of their lives over the powerful, destructive influences of a child's addiction. As the father of a son in a ten year heroin battle, Dave knows all to well the challenges parents and families face. He also knows there is a way to find peace in the chaos. It is his mission to help parents discover their path to a healthier, balanced life even if a child's active addiction is still part of their daily journey.