• David Smeltz

Amazed and Honored

The day after Labor Day I was informed that I would be the guest of honor at a benefit celebrating my life and accomplishments. The news hit me by surprise and I'm just now accepting it as fact. Why has this news blindsided me? Because, I had all but written off acknowledgement for any part I may have played in the initial formation of interest and promotion of reggae music in Northeast Ohio. I hadn't always felt this way though. Coming into recovery I had very deep seated resentments against all of you! My three largest and most insidious resentments during active addiction and early sobriety kept me on a never ending cycle of depression, fear and anxiety. I allowed all three resentments to equally drain whatever semblance of sanity I had attempted to maintain. 1: I resented my (then) soon to be ex-wife for removing our daughters from our home and taking them to an undisclosed location. 2: I resented the fact that I was unable to stop using drugs and alcohol no matter how much I tried. 3: I resented all musicians, friends, fans and/or supporters. My ill conceived logic behind my self justified resentments of all of you rested in my rationalization that if you truly cared about me you would be helping me. You had once told me how much you appreciated me for the music and vibes we put out. So, why not show me your sincerity and love now? Especially, when my self esteem is at an all time low. I was trying to hold onto past accomplishments to make my current lack of achievements tolerable. The only thing I had achieved at that time was a heroin habit and a dependency to anything that made me feel better. Buddhism tells me that attachment is the root cause of suffering. I found attachment to reputation to be a very difficult thing to release.

Once in recovery, I practiced being alright without your validation. I learned that my internal self worth had been largely dependent upon external approval. I was told that everyone is not going to like me. I better get accustomed to it or spend the rest of my life wanting something I had no control over. I did and do, however, have control over how I think and feel about myself. I must cultivate humility. The absolute best thing I can do for me is to not use...no matter what! I continue in the pursuit of liking myself again and work at being the most forthright version of Dave possible. It's been a daily exercise since 2001. The more I began to like and accept myself; the less your opinion about me mattered. The less I felt the need to be rewarded; the less I expected to be rewarded. There are still times when a resentment from my past rears its ugly head but I don't take the bait and allow it to sink back into a sea of indignation and animosity. So, the recognition I had craved so desperately years ago is now a reality. It comes at a time when I am most humbled and tremendously grateful by the offering rather than self serving and conceited. I'm blessed to have had eighteen years to prepare for this honor. Thank you!

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