Monday, January 24, 2011

Rome wasn't build in a day

A friend of one of my sons is in some legal trouble.

He's been incarcerated for a few months, a juvenile.

A smart, attractive kid with a great personality...who did a really dumb thing.

He has been corresponding with my son via mail...and I've been wanting to reach out to write him a note, but truth be told, I barely know the kid. He's shared a few meals with us....and my son loves him like a brother. Really...what would I say to him...I'm sure he's heard enough nagging and preaching from his own parents.

But two weeks ago, I pulled out a note card and stared at the blank page. what do I say?
and then..suddenly....I began to write....and write...and write...and cry...and write.

I stopped at 15 pages (poor kid).

Last week I received a 5 page reply from him. He was shocked to get mail from me at all....and touched by all that I shared with him.

My experience.
How to turn a life around.
How to go from hopeless back to living.

I didn't realize, until I started writing, how the changes I've made in my life, with regards to gambling, are really the things that ANY of us have to do when our behavior has to change.

Ya know.... the sayings that we hear, in the rooms of GA or from our Grandmothers...wherever....we (or at least *I*) have never spent the time to ponder the true meaning.....therefore, when someone quotes one to me, it has little significance in my life.

So I was telling this kid, in my letter, how I'd really screwed up my life and I didn't see any way that I could ever repair things. I didn't see how things could ever be OK again.

that's because....what we want is 'poof'...everything is all better now.

and that doesn't exist.

when i decided to turn my life around...REALLY was inside...I was different...I KNEW I was different.

why didn't anyone else see the (internal) change?
and why did I still have to face the consequences of my bad behavior. THAT sure wasn't fair. I'm gonna do the right thing from now on, so people should trust me and forgive me and give me another chance.

so I really had to dig deep.
I had to decide that I was going to choose to do the right thing EVEN THO no one believed or trusted me...and I was going to have to live with the pain of the consequences.

But...just like there is no 'poof', "everything is all better now"
there is no 'poof' "I am all different"

besides...that is too big a task "I am going to be this or do that 'from now on'"

and it isn't necessary.

all I had to do was do the next right thing, right now.
and the next right thing...
and the next.

doing the next right thing sort of encompasses we treat people, being dependable, being honest.

now, I'm not perfect.

sometimes I don't do the right thing, but then, when I realize it, I just try to do the NEXT right thing (and if necessary, correct the wrong).

the thing is....
with time...other people DID see a change in me.

I don't imagine it was a 'poof' sort of thing for them either.
I don't think that one day my husband woke up and realized I was different.

It was slow....gradual.

I have a girlfriend who is very private (because our group of friends gossips quite a bit)...and recently she confided some very personal things to me.
She knows I would never repeat it.

Four years ago she would not have considered sharing with me.....and I don't think there was a DAY where 'poof' she realized I had changed.... it's just happened slowly...with time...

So I was telling this young man that the way to change your life is just to change this moment. do the right thing right now.

it begins as a series of actions...but it becomes who we are.

and eventually...the people that matter...will see.... that there is change.

Rome....was brick at a time.


Krissy said...

This is now day 1 of my journey to become "gamble-free". I found the link to your blog on So far, I have only read the most recent of your posts, but found something you said so inspiring and I have placed a sticky note with it on my desktop "the way to change your life is just to change this moment. do the right thing right now." They are such simple words, but I believe they will be very helpful to me as I start my journey. Thank you! look forward to reading more of your posts! I

Anonymous said...

I was 19 years old when i started going to the casino. I would go almost 2 or 3 times a week for 8 hours at a time. I consider myself to be an addict. I am now 20 years old and because of gambling, i am $1500 in debt, i have lost my job and can't pay my debt and i have lost all my parents money that they can't afford to pay the rent. I always believed it was a way to make a "quick buck" but in actual fact, i have lost everything, i have lost my parents everything and I am in debt and im only 20 years old... Please, if there is someone out there who can help me, I really need it!!!

Anonymous said...

I am 42. I started gambling in '04... lost a lot of money... then bam i started winning. I would have a few good weeks then back in the hole i would go.. i would stop for a bit thenget that itch.. the itch that it is my turn to win. Nope blow my check, take out extra on credit and still no win.. i am now so far in the hole that i am losing everything. My girlfriend. The cars and our home. Oh my god does it ever turn around and get better.?