Don’t cry for me: Smile!
Blindness was a sad state of affairs until he changed on the inside
I have been blessed to become sober on Nov. 6, 1996, while in an Oklahoma prison. I became blind in September 1997, while I was in prison, after a brain surgery that went bad. After that surgery I spent the next two years blind and in prison—a sad state of affairs. I made it by changing on the inside first.
My story is about a bad negative attitude. The main reason I drank and drugged over the past many years was this: Reality and sobriety sucked! I was not raised with wisdom or common sense, nor was I taught to use it. Like a lot of alcoholics, I grew up in an alcoholic home with a lot of craziness going on. I did go to church when I was about 8, but only with my older brother, leaving Mom behind at home to nurse her hangovers. So there was no role model to watch this whole God thing in the process. What I saw was a drunk behaving irrationally and neurotically—a real drama queen.
Thus I was programmed by what I saw growing up, and I followed suit. Instead of acting properly with wisdom or common sense, I overreacted like Mom would. Man, the times I heard my teachers tell me, “Steve, can’t you think before you speak or do anything?” Nope! It wasn’t in my makeup.
When I got sober I started to think more than ever, and it started to hurt. Here I was, blind and sober. Poor me: Life sucks; people suck; nobody understands me; nothing good could ever happen to me. Talk about a negative mindset! It would take a God to change that mindset. But it happened! It took much prayer, fellowship with positive-minded people and the right reading material to get on the right track of dealing with “Life on Life’s Terms.” Alcoholics Anonymous was my first positive book to start the change. Then I grew to love listening to positive speakers who had gone through the madness like me, to learn what they are doing now. I learned so much being blind. I truly think I would not have learned half the stuff I learned if I were sighted. When you are blind you aren’t sitting at the table of AA or church looking at Ms. Cleavage across the room, not hearing a word that is said. OK, guys, don’t cry for me. Smile.
I can’t tune anyone out—preachers, TV, radio or others around me. One thing I have learned in the whole “I want to grow up” thing: Whatever I allow to come into my head I can think, Can I learn or use something from this, or not? I have learned so much with this new mindset.
I do make it all about me, to listen to what I can use to grow up and be an asset to God, people and myself. Thinking about the good stuff each day keeps my mind in the right course of feelings and actions. I have learned by much trial and error. I can now think myself into right actions. Wow! No more bondage to a negative mind.
I start out in the morning lifting my arms to God, praising him for another great day before I even find out if it is or not—faith. I make my coffee, then get on my knees to pray for others and turn on a few of my positive preachers or speakers. After prayers I call a few AA or Christian friends. By then I am ready to start my day off feeling good without a drink.
After much repetition and practice, I have learned to use my own mind to deal with life’s struggles, mishaps, disappointments and pity issues, which at first used to baffle the crap out of me. Get it? I did. I have a great life and I stay sober and serene.