100 Days

Photo by Javier Graterol on Unsplash

I love this quote from Rupi Kaur,

When you’re feeling that low, every part of you, to its very core, tells you you will never, ever, ever feel better. And it’s hard to disagree with that gut because I’m somebody who trusts her gut very much. Because of my gut, I followed my dreams, I wrote poetry, I got on that stage. So when that same voice is telling me that I’m going to be depressed forever and never be happy again, shouldn’t I trust it? I had to realize through therapy and reading and learning, that that’s kind of what depression does. It’s this manipulator, and it just makes you think that its voice is your voice.

You can just as easily substitute depression with alcohol in the above quote, and it would be as accurate. It has been quite some time since I last posted anything. However, through a combination of therapy, medication, meditation, and changing my mind’s wiring just a little every day, I can today proudly state that I am 100 days sober.

I remember the struggle when I look back at posts like this written in January last year. The quote from that post still rings true:

In other words, fear doesn’t go away. The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day. — Steven Pressfield

At 100 days, the battle does not feel won, but it feels like less of a daily struggle. Don’t get me wrong; there are days when the urge still arises out of the ashes. Days when events occur that feel unfair. Days when all that life demands feels like too much. Those days are fewer and farther between, and I now have a new set of tools to better deal with these inevitable events.

To be entirely honest, I am not sure my tools would have been so finely tuned had it not been for all the years of struggle, failure, and pain. Of course, I do not wish what I went through on anyone, nor myself, but I do feel stronger not despite but because of my experiences. Am I saying that you have to go through this to live a life of purpose and meaning?

Heck no! If you are willing to learn from the mistakes of others, there is no need. I am saying that a life of struggle, failure, pain, and uncertainty does not make a wasted life. You can, and must, fight the battle anew every day, for we all deserve a life we can be proud of.

“What fear does is deprive you of power by making you think you don’t have any. If you don’t believe you can do something, it’s not only unlikely that you can do it, it’s guaranteed that you won’t even try.” (from “Courage Is Calling: Fortune Favours the Brave” by Ryan Holiday)

What is different, you ask? A lot.

The most striking emotion I am feeling is optimism. Even at 46 going on 47, I still feel like I can make my dreams come true. Especially today, with all the advances in medicine, and all we know about living a healthy life, 47 is the new 37. 😁 That leads me to something else I am experiencing. I feel younger, healthier, and generally have more energy. In addition, I have embraced my night owl🦉 nature, making a massive difference in my productivity.

While there is never enough time for all the ideas that fill my head, I have grown my business more than ever in the last 100 days. I feel confident that I am creating something of lasting value to myself and my family. Being able to build something that could end up providing career opportunities to my kids is gratifying.

My business is growing, inspiring my wife to pursue her dreams of building her own business. The extra income is great and offers some more certainty and freedom. With that said, I am working harder than ever. This is not a “flex,” as they say, but a statement of fact. When one is in the early days of building a business, time off is something you have to put on the back burner to improve your chances of success. One is not yet able to outsource, delegate, or employ others, so most everything rests upon your shoulders.

It is a fact that I would never have been able to do this while still in the grips of alcohol. Although, I have to admit that I sometimes get angry at myself when I realize this. I wonder whether I could have had this growth and success earlier in my life. Could I have provided a better life for my family earlier and not have put them through all of the things I did?

Thankfully I have grown enough emotionally to know that this is not a path I want to go down. Instead, I now see that it is a path of self-pity that only leads to guilt and self-loathing. And where does that lead? To the bottom of a bottle of pity juice. 🧃 To a life of anxiety and regret. No, thank you, I have had more than enough of that. So I choose a life of meaning and purpose instead.

Looking back over all of the posts I have shared over the last few years, I can genuinely say that I am proud. I am proud of never giving up. I am pleased to have shared so openly and so freely. I am proud of where I am today.

In closing, I want to leave you with the following poem by Rumi.

THE GUEST HOUSE

This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.

~ Rumi

Love yourself not despite your mistakes but because of them. Love yourself because you are still here, fighting the battle anew every day. I guarantee you that your loved ones love you because of this. Never give up. Stay safe, everyone. ✌️

I write about mental health, addiction, sober living, and living your best life. If you find value in my writing, consider buying me a coffee ☕️

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Schalk Neethling

Schalk Neethling

I write about mental health, addiction, sober living, living your best life through an active lifestyle and a whole food plant-based diet. Psychedelic curios :)