A Gritty Lesson In Self Worth..

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A Gritty Lesson In Self Worth
An Op-Ed

Life is difficult. There’s no easy path that leads you towards a problem free life and even those born with the proverbial silver spoon in their mouth will face insurmountable difficulties within their lifetime. It’s part of the journey, or so I’ve been told. The idea that we’re confronted by overwhelming pain and struggle simply so we learn to cherish the positive moments in our lives is a concept I will never begin to understand.

I’ve struggled with addiction problems my whole life. In my 33 years, I have spent ten years drowning in my faults and another six years learning how to overcome them. It has not been easy in the slightest. You name the addiction and I probably found a way to cling to it for dear life, hoping that one day I’d find my ultimate cure and all of my problems would magically dissipate leaving me with nothing but pure bliss. That was a pipe dream that cost me my youth.

They told me my issues with addiction are genetic and maybe they’re right since both of my parents escaped into the bottle throughout my childhood. Or maybe watching them flee towards the comfort of alcohol night after night was a learned behavior. Either way, I am who I am and there’s nothing I can do to change the past – only the future.

Changing your future isn’t all that easy either though. You spend all of this time and energy and outlandish amounts of effort to run away from your past and yet it’s there to haunt you – constantly looming in your shadow. Somehow it finds it’s way back into your life. It could be in the form of your well-intentioned sister who likes to mention how far you’ve come – even though that means remembering where you were. It could happen during a job interview when they want to know why you have a nine month gap in employment and there’s no easy way to explain that you were in rehabilitation. It could be in the throes of a relationship when you feel like you’re living a lie because you haven’t found a way to disclose your past without scaring her away.

While you struggle in your personal and professional world, the rest of the universe goes on spinning. Hollywood keeps making films that glorify drug use, all too careful to leave out the life-wrecking spiral you’ll end up in. Musicians keep churning out songs about sex and drugs, never once thinking they could be guiding some misdirected youth into a life of fear and loss. No sweat off their back when you follow their idealized lead and inevitably end up living in a tumultuous situation you’d never imagined for yourself.

Once you’re done idolizing celebrities it becomes clear. It’s clear that they never found themselves down the rabbit hole lost in the darkness. It’s clear that they never had to seek help nor have they lost loved ones along the way. It’s clear that they never dealt with that shame.

I’m over the shame. Therapy made that clear. You are who you are because of your past and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Don’t dwell on the past but take your bumps and bruises and move on. Treatment has been a long road. There are many different treatment options for sex addiction that are specifically tailored for men.

After all of this – 16 years of learning lessons – that is what I have learned. I have learned to to value myself and value those around me. It was a long journey but the pain is finally over. I don’t expect sunshine and rainbows from here on out but I’ve learned how to handle a rainy day.

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