The room seemed larger then. Much larger. Some nine years ago when I walked in, terrified and alone, making one last attempt at saving my life so that I wouldn’t ultimately take it, the room appeared electric, almost as if were I to touch anything the current would kill me.
To be exact, the date was April 2nd, 2001 and I was just 24 years old. I’d not even lived in New York two months and it seemed as if, to turn a phrase, I was not going to make it there or anywhere. After weeks of drinking and tilting at windmills, I did the only thing left to do…I gave up.
Not gave up in the negative sense but gave up as in surrendered. I realized that I was not like the other fortunate people in this world who could drink with impunity. My giving up essentially saved my life. Had I not, I am more than certain I would be dead.
The interesting thing about returning to that room yesterday was the realization at how much my life had changed. If someone had told that scared 24 year old boy from Texas that within the span of 9 years his life would be where it is today, that boy would have turned and run away. I suppose that’s why we don’t get an advance copy of the script prior to the director screaming action. If we each knew the inevitable pain and adversities of life, we might never move forward.
If I could go back in time and talk to that boy from nine years ago I would tell him that, no matter what, everything was going to be ok and turn out just as it should. I would tell him that no matter how many broken hearts and broken promises, no matter how many shattered dreams and shattered confidences, no matter how many countless relapses and counting days, life would always find a way to work itself out.
I would tell him that happiness is not really the goal but instead is the result of a life well loved. I would tell him to live within the now and cling to that still small voice that reassures us all. Keep showing up, I’d say, because it may not get better but it will get easier and the troubles will seem less daunting and the pain will seem less severe.
The room seems so much smaller now. Much smaller. Yeah, that’s what I’d like to tell that young man from years gone by. I’d like to tell him that as you grow up and move on, the rooms will always grow smaller.
And he...well, he will always grow stronger.