Sunday, November 22, 2015

You Have to Rescue Yourself

Everyone has a story and you can learn a lot if you just shut up and listen. 

I spent the past week in North Dakota, meeting up with lots of old and new friends.

I gave presentations at Minot State University, the Minot Job Corps and the Boys and Girls Club in New Town, North Dakota on the Fort Berthold reservation.

I also met a lot of people and heard a lot of their stories about overcoming (or not) everything from alcoholism to domestic violence to methamphetamine addiction. Different people, in different cities in different situations said pretty much the same thing :

It comes down to this: you have to rescue yourself.

It IS terrible and wrong that your husband beats you, but he probably is not going to stop, as harsh as that is to say. The police can arrest him, your friends can offer you a place to stay but YOU need to decide that you are better than this, take your children and leave.

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence 10 times, been sent to treatment four times and have just been released from jail, your family may be willing to help you, there may be an open bed at a treatment facility, but YOU need to decide to go.

Sometimes when I say things like this, people object and say,

You don't understand, it's not as easy as it sounds.

Actually, THEY don't understand, because I don't think it sounds easy at all. Listening to someone talk about leaving her husband, being homeless with three children while she looked for a job - that didn't sound easy to me at all. What an amazing amount of strength and courage that she did it, though!

I know a lot of people who have been alcoholics and the hardest thing they have to do, as far as I can see, is honestly admitting they have fucked up. One man told me,

At AA meeting they have you say that you are an alcoholic and you have no control over your life. I said it but I didn't mean it. Not me! I was (a professional athlete)! I had a nice house, nice cars, women! There was nothing wrong with me!

Ever hear the phrase "painfully honest"? It takes a painful amount of honesty to look in the mirror and admit that you are wrong, what you have been doing is wrong and bad and (if you are an addict) it has been bad and wrong for a long time.

I heard a lot of stories by and about parents this week who gave their adult children money for drugs so they would not have to go through the pain of withdrawal, so they wouldn't steal the money for drugs and go to jail, who didn't turn them in when they DID steal the money, family members who denied being beaten by a relative.

Even if it is not that extreme, though, I think we all end up sometimes in situations where we are waiting for someone else to rescue us or trying to protect someone. That is fine if your four years old but not when you're forty.

Since I'm in the airport and have a few minutes to blog, let me give you some advice: Rescue yourself.

If you had a really good friend, a child, someone you loved, here is how I think you would treat them:
  1. You'd be honest with them, even when they didn't want to hear what you had to say. If they were in a bad situation, you would tell them. 
  2. You'd have the courage to face up to other people, even to that person him or herself, and help them make a change, whether it is moving with them to a new city, changing schools or filing charges against an abuser.
  3. You'd have the strength to continue on, even when people around you questioned your commitment, your motives, even when it was hard and you were tired and the road ahead to get a degree to get a job so you could support yourself, or to finish treatment or pay off your bills seemed so long.
That's what we do for people we love and if you would do that for your children, your best friend, then why can you not do it for yourself?

Plane boarding. Gotta go.


This isn't my real job, writing this blog - I make games that make you smarter. Honest, play for a few weeks and your math skills WILL be better.

All that stuff from 5th grade you forgot, yeah, it comes back to you.


LsP said...

I always wondered how you never became an alcoholic. Now I know.

Unknown said...


Frank said...

A great read as always. I just finished reading 'Triggers' by Marshall Goldsmith. A few points in this post are similar to that book especially the effort, work and energy involved in helping others yet we fail to do the same for ourselves. If you haven't already read that I highly recommend it. Keep up the great work and all the best.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

Good stuff. Applies to everyone. thanks!
Safe travels..

Subway Singer said...

Wise words as always. Thanks Doc, you are an inspiration.

Austrian Buddha said...

So true. Nobody can rescue you from you.

Unknown said...

Thank you.

Unknown said...

That's true !! Thank you

Ardebaren said...

It's hard for some people to accept that there isn't a magic wand, there is no button you can press to immediately change your life or lifestyle. This applies to almost everything we go through as people; drugs, violence, mental illness, they're all things where people are generally unwilling to accept that change has to start with them. I've been living with a persistent depressive disorder and agoraphobia for about 8 years now and I always believed that someone could just fix it for me, pills didn't work, psychiatrist didn't help because I didn't really take to heart what they were telling me. The years have just withered away as a result while the disorders have both just kept getting stronger. Thankfully I woke up recently and started to deal with them properly, some people aren't that fortunate though, some people go decades without dealing with drugs, violence or even mental illness properly.

samog777 said...

Our so called accomplishments in life might seem important at this time but will God see them in the same light as our tiny and limited ability to understand? Nobody brings anything to judgement. No trophys, ribbons, degrees ect. Most ppl put there energys and pursuits in everything that is wrong with the world!

Anonymous said...

Preach, sister! A little self-reliance & self-accountability go a long way.

A good rule of thumb:
You have three days to feel sorry for yourself, then figure shit out because nobody else is going to do it for you.

Anonymous said...

Always writing riddles for the morons while the people with brains know exactly what you are thinking.
Time to try a new tactic..this one is worn out.

Ventus said...

If various people can find meaning as it relates to their situation and lives in what mrs AnnMaria writes then all of it serves a good purpose. that can never get worn out.

Sometimes imagining you are telepathic and "know" the secret meaning in something is nothing but ego doing its dumb tricks on itself. As usual.
Saying that is pretty much completely worthless to those who think they have these amazing insights that "nobody else does", or anyone else.