A lot of people ask me if I’m scared to leave everything and everyone I know to spend half a year in the wilderness. Bears, wolves, snakes, bugs, being alone, sleeping in the dirt, flipping my boat over, heavy rain, lightning, massive barges, crazy people. These are the most common concerns that people have when asking me about my trip. They are legit concerns.
The biggest fear I have doesn’t have to do with the physical trip. It has to do with this website. Letting the entire world into my life. Well probably not the entire world, maybe 99% of it that will read this. Telling my story. Putting myself out there and letting everyone know that I am an alcoholic and drug addict.
I have always been a social person and consider myself to have lots of friends. But I became a master of hiding my addiction from everyone. I put on a front as this person who had no worries. Loved life. Lived a carefree lifestyle. But in the end that was the farthest from the truth.
I recently attended a funeral for one of the people I have known longest in my life and cared for very much. She lost her long battle with cancer at such a young age. While continuing to fight, she stayed positive and open through out her battle. As hard as it was to say goodbye, she taught me several life lessons that I will never be able to thank her for. 1. Life is short. Tomorrow is not guaranteed. Live life to the fullest. 2. Life isn’t all about us. (This was a tough one for me to understand if you know me) It’s about helping others. She shared her experience of battling cancer, life and the uncertainty of what was going to happen. Through her whole experience she stayed positive and faithful in life and her beliefs. And by sharing what she and her family were going through inspired thousands of people. I am not exaggerating when I say thousands. It was truly amazing hearing the stories of how many people she inspired by simply being open and honest about her life and thoughts. By no means do I feel I can help that many people but it made me realize that if I can share my experience and help even one person who struggles with addiction then it is worth it.
I have 2 other very close friends who I have known for over 15 years, that partied like I did. They struggled with the same issues that I did and did something about it. When I realized that I had a problem and actually wanted to do something about it, they were there for me. I had to reach out to them but when I did they didn’t judge. To my surprise they didn’t say “I knew it” or “told you so”. They told me what it was like for them and what they did. People had told me to “just quit” or “cut back”. Trust me I tried that. It wasn’t till people who understood what I was going through told me what worked for them, that I was able to see that there was hope.
While the fear of bears, crazy people and Mother Nature are scary, the fear of hurting my pride and ego is the toughest. But what I have come to realize is that it’s not all about me. While this is a trip that I am doing for myself, it’s not all about me. It’s about showing those who feel like there is no hope, that there is hope. There is life after drugs and alcohol. And it’s actually pretty fun. It’s to show that if you are tired of living the way you are, you can make a change. It wont be easy, but it’s possible. The change is worth it. You are worth it.