Cleveland, OH, USA

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  • David Smeltz

Independence

Today is July 4th, 2019. Independence Day in the U.S. I'll not be marching around in Red, White and Blue underwear or outerwear today. Nor, shall I be singing Yankee Doodle. To celebrate this nation's freedom from tyrannic rule when tyranny and suppression run rampant within this nation would be hypocritical of me. I do, however, enjoy putting fire to gunpowder (fireworks). My point is not political in nature. The point is that I no longer have to follow the masses which celebrate because that's what we're expected to do. We're all given a day off from work to conform to this tradition. Like automatons, we follow along. Reveling and rejoicing in symbolism rather than in truth. Unconsciously following the rest of the sheeple over a cliff of patriotic unification.

Recovery has provided me the tenacity to think for myself, have opinions and not be ashamed or feel threatened for thinking differently. I come from a place of people pleasing and non confrontation. A position of conformity. A place where how I felt inside was determined by how I perceived your outside. If you frowned; I felt bad. If you weren't happy; I was sad. When you were happy: I was glad. I respected the opinion of someone else more than my own. I wouldn't stand up for myself and I was a slave to the expectations of others. I had always wanted to "fit in" and be part of. I felt different. One thing alcohol and drugs did for me was to allow me to feel at ease around people. It worked as a social lubricant. So, when forced to put down this magic elixir of false courage I was instantly thrown into a fire of awkward insecurity and burned severely. I had to practice real courage by stepping out on faith and doing and confronting things and situations that I felt uncomfortable with. By consistently practicing responses diametrically opposed to my ingrained thought patterns, I began to change. Slowly, I started to say what I meant and mean what I said and be o.k. with it. Being o.k. with "it" also means being prepared to change my opinion and own up to when I find myself to be or proven incorrect. So, today (like every day) I celebrate independence from my dependence upon mood and mind altering substances. I rejoice in being liberated from my own captive mind set. Happy Independence Day! The work continues.

Grateful to know the difference!