Have you ever wanted to leave everything and walk away? Have you ever wanted to leave the people, commitments, obligations, relationships, and mountains of stuff you’ve acquired while creating a lifestyle you hate? Have you ever felt completely alone in a room on 20 people? Have you ever had the same conversation repeatedly and knew exactly when to laugh as someone told that meaningless story about their kids? Or when to act enraged when someone is bitching about rude service in a restaurant? Have you ever dreamed of leaving a job you hate and holidays you’ve shared with people you deep down despise? To never again listen to the endless religious, political and NFL views you don’t agree from people who bore you. To never buy crap to support someone’s kid’s activities or pitch in for someone’s baby shower, birthday, bar mitzvah. To not feel obligated to attend anything which requires a gift or money. To not be asked to do community-based work so you can give back to a community you never liked. To not feel less than or exposed or talked about behind your back by toxic people. To walk away from relationships you never wanted in the first place… to leave no forwarding address or email or phone number… to walk away from believing “maybe one day” towards “one day is now” and making it happen.
I did it. I walked away and never looked back. It was the moment my life began to have meaning. It was when I found the authentic “Rob”.
I have been a very blessed man. I’ve traveled around the world, lived in dream homes and have owned some amazing European cars. Money was never an issue in my life and I lived accordingly. I remember watching the economic collapse for years on the evening news with no empathy because it wasn’t part of my world. I wasn’t fabulously rich but I was comfortably above upper middle class.
Do not believe any of the bull shit about money not buying happiness…. that statement was made by a poor person. Money most certainly will buy everything a person needs to live a happy life. What it will not buy is inner peace or quiet that feeling at 3:00 A.M. when you realize nothing is working in your life or the wave of sadness that comes over you as you think back in time when you still believed in truth, hope and tomorrow. The realization of the compromises you’ve made and what you’ve lost. I’ve always hated 3:00 A.M. for what it made me see in the darkness.
I don’t think it’s possible to love anything until you love yourself…. and I will assure you I hated me. I remember the morning I called my parents for help in getting into treatment for my drinking and drug addictions. I’d decided if they didn’t answer the phone I was going to jump off the oceanfront condo and simply end the mess I’d created. I had no intention of leaving a note explaining anything to anyone. 30 years of addiction and alcoholism had finally won. Fortunately, my mother answered my call and I’m here today because of it. Thank God for her!
Please understand my comfortable lifestyle was a gift from very hard working people. I did nothing to create any of it. My mother and the mother of my son are brilliant businesswomen who know how to make money. These women are to be credited for allowing me to live very comfortably for decades. But I hated the life I’d been given and resent it. I was so lost in my addictions… death would have been a relief. I hated everything about me and to be honest so did anyone who knew me.
When I got out of rehab in California I knew I’d return to a life I hated if I returned to Florida. So with no money, I started over in Hollywood, California and put my past behind me. I was terrified. No one was going to hire a middle-aged, overly educated recovering drug addict who had never done anything with his life. I was approaching 50 years old in a town where beautiful people are has-beens at 24. I had nothing but a dog, $300.00 in the bank and an AARP card. Holy shit! I was screwed!
Hollywood, California is where my life began and I was so grateful for every second of it. Gone were the maids, Mercedes and oceanfront condos. In their place was a city bus schedule, grocery cart and food from the Dollar Store. Never once did I regret leaving the people, places, and things I’d grown to hate. No one knew me or my past or expect anything from me. For the first time in my life I was at peace at 3:00 A.M. I had no idea what the future held but I was thankful for the moment and knew it would take only one drink or drug to destroy it.
Those days were filled with exploration and self-discovery. I realized I would never be able to actually live a full life until I faced the pain and trauma I desperately tried hide. All the trauma of my childhood..the damage I’d done to my children and wives and any relationship I tried to build. All of the lies that kept me imprisoned for decades. Everything I’d sabotaged so publically. I had a 49-year-old onion that needed a lot of peeling.
We all say that we have accepted ourselves and our lives the way they are but actually, we don’t. Self-acceptance is very important in making the journey of life brighter and happier. It is vital to accept whoever, whatever, wherever you are. Self-acceptance is definitely the process of befriending the unconditioned self… the part of you that is more than just your name, your failures or your successes.
Accept yourself the way you are first, and then try to work on your faults to improve yourself. Stop uselessly criticising yourself. Once you find some time from your schedule to look within, you will find that you have a number of strengths and weaknesses in yourself. Accept them because both represent who you are.
People often say, “I cannot change” or ” this is my basic nature.” But lack of self-acceptance eventually leads to a lot of anxiety and mental turmoil. Nothing external gives the desired happiness and peace. The ability to think in the right direction is lost and gradually the person finds himself surrounded by darkness and unrest. This is because people don’t accept “now.” Self-acceptance can act as a major tool in paving the way for further improvement and advancement. Also, this way we can safeguard ourselves from the clutches of sadness and despair. To look inside and accept and love the person you are is the greatest gift you can give yourself and others.
Today, nothing in my life is perfect and it simply doesn’t matter. I’ve hurt so many people in the past and have done my best to make amends to them to the best of my ability. Many people will never forgive me for the harm I caused in their lives. I realize it and will respect them by loving them from a distance knowing we may never speak again. The greatest amends is living a changed life.
Once I decided to stop being who I wasn’t… I was able to become who I am.
This is my journey… this is my life.