I have a lot of alcoholics and addicts in my life. The majority of them are what I would call non-practicing, but there are a few still swirling around in the madness.
The ones in recovery all have one thing in common: they have taken responsibility for their actions. Yes, they have a sickness of the mind, but they don’t blame any outside forces for their fate.
Once martyrs and victims, they now can recognize the active participation they each played in the progression of their disease and own up to it. And when I say “they,” I am including myself in the bunch.
(I may get up on a soapbox here for a sec, so bear with me.)
I met up with a friend from high school this past week I had not seen since we graduated. We connected on Facebook a few years ago, and he was in town from Washington, D.C. , visiting family here. Kevin is a really good dude, and I was happy to see him. Understandably though, we spent a good chunk of our conversation over dinner chatting about other high school chums. “Whatever happened to …” and “Did you hear about …?”
Anyhoo, Kevin and I have both friended another former classmate on social media who is a train wreck, bless his heart. I told Kevin that I finally had to unfollow this poor sod’s posts because they were just debacle after disaster after catastrophe, and I couldn’t take it anymore. I feel sorry for him on one hand, but on another, I just do not have the energy for that kind of drama.
His unrelenting saga of misfortune reads like the juiciest of reality shows. How many times can one person’s house get robbed? How many times can he be threatened with eviction? How many damn times can a coked-out stripper wreck his car?
A hella lot, apparently.
Here’s the thing. If you choose to spend your time with criminals and crackheads, lend them money and give them the keys to your home and your vehicle, it should be no real surprise when they fuck you over.
Now, I know that bad things happen to good people. Flukes, coincidence, bad luck. But if the same shit keeps happening over and over, and the common denominator in all of those situations is YOU, well then… asking, “Why me?” is a pretty friggin’ rhetorical question, isn’t it? This is not bad luck; it is you making stupid decisions.
I have made plenty of my own shittay choices when it comes to money, career, relationships and everything else under the sun. Some of them twice. Some of them a thousand times.
But they are MY choices. No one made me marry the same guy twice. When it blew up for the second time for the exact same reasons as the first go-around, I had no one to blame but myself.
Yep, you will never hear me say I have “bad luck” in romantic relationships, though I have yet to cultivate a successful one. I have sense enough to know that my track record is a result of choosing the same basic type of man each time. I am aware of the problem, so I am trying to change my pattern. It may take me another 10 years to get it together, but what the hell. At least I am actively working on it.
If I have debt, it’s because I lived beyond my means for way too long and not because the world is against me, or I can’t catch a break. And if I’m not getting paid what I’m worth, then that’s my fault for setting the bar too low.
Entitled people who spend all their time complaining (on social media or in real life) about first-world minutiae make me want to scream. Did you ever stop to think that maybe your day wouldn’t suck so much if you changed your attitude?
And don’t get me started on the incessant bitching about things that are easily changed with a few simple actions. Gas prices too high? Don’t drive an SUV. Your butt won’t fit in your clothes? Get off of it once in a while!
I’ve got friends suffering from heart disease, cancer, cystic fibrosis and AIDS, and yet each one of those people actively looks for something beautiful in every day. What the fuck do you have to complain about, for realz?
Whew, this has turned into a bitchy rant, hasn’t it? Oops. Kind of takes the sauce out of my argument, doesn’t it?
Lather, rinse repeat: Not my monkeys, not my circus. Time to put the focus back on me … which was, um, my whole point to this post. (Sheepish grin.)
No matter what situation I find myself in, I played a part in getting myself there. Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of perspective. If I’m grateful instead of resentful, life is pretty damn OK. It’s amazing how much better my life is when I own it. ALL of it… the shizz along with the shiny parts.
Anyhoo, I think I had to unfollow my unfortunate high school compatriot mostly because it is too tempting for me to engage in his nonsense. His constant stream of woe-is-me posts makes me want to virtually shake the shit out of him. No more 20-year-old strippers! You are 42 years old and have a child, for God’s sake!!
Maybe he actually likes the drama and attention, I don’t know. SIGH.
What I do know is this: His life is none of my business. He has his own journey, and I need to respect that journey, just like I want others to respect mine. So for my own peace of mind, I’ll stay in my own hula hoop and keep his posts hidden. If I feel compelled to watch a train wreck, I’ll just tune in to Honey Boo Boo and yell at the TV.
About Amy Higgs
A former newspaper columnist, Amy takes her random, slice-of-life stories to the web. After 10 years, she's still just saying.