Austen started his ‘Journey Through Sobriety,’ on May 15, 2014, 71 days sober. In other posts, I have shared excerpts from his journal in no particular order. I am now going through the journal chronologically and selecting excerpts to share using my editorial judgment. Austen had a keen sense of life and of his particular situation. His words are honest and uplifting, describing the human spirit and condition with a clarity and maturity unusual in one so young. This entry is from May 21, 2014, 77 days out.
I walk the earth alone, I can be close with others, I can love, care for, and sleep with someone, but they will never be as close to me as I am to myself. . . . So, my relationship with myself is the most important one in my life. As well as I feel I know myself, there is still a huge amount to uncover and discover about myself. To figure these things out, and ultimately figure out myself, I have to be willing to be introspective as well as honest with myself and others. I have to align my actions with my values. If somebody doesn’t like me that that is their problem, not mine. All I can control is my own actions. I don’t need others’ approval and I don’t want to have ulterior motives for my behaviors.
That is what recovery is about.
I’m only 22. I don’t need any substances, nicotine or caffeine. Just purity and spirituality. It’s all within me. All the wisdom and knowledge of how to be myself and that’s all that matters. It’s not for anyone else either. I’m not getting myself right to find my soul mate, although that will come if I get to where I need to be. I’m doing this because I was put on this earth, in this body, and I have one chance to experience this amazing existence. With everything that’s happened you have to think I wasn’t put here by coincidence. I was given a chance not a promise. That means maybe I’m not here for a reason but I was put here with the potential to fulfill my life. To be. To exist and to love, and that’s an opportunity that I’m not willing to relinquish.
There is so much beauty in life and within my self. We all get used to it, we adapt to it, but it’s there regardless. The sky, the stars, the sun, the grass, the trees, my mind, my thoughts, my understandings. Finally, I’m in a position to find out who I truly am. I’ve done a lot of work already over these 77 days. 77 days of sobriety is a long fucking time. The longest amount of time that I have ever had since I became addicted. It’s not great yet, but I’m healing and I will continue to heal. Everyday is an opportunity to get better. Once I’m there. . . no, not once I’m there, because I’ll never be perfect and I can start to fulfill my dreams tomorrow. I want to be a writer, a rapper, a musician. That’s my dream. I can pursue that. I also want to be a psychologist or an addiction counselor, but those are secondary goals. My brain will continue to heal. I can write, I can practice. One step at a time. But it’s okay to be excited. It will be exciting. If I can get this right. If I can get myself right, and I most definitely can as long as I have the right attitude. Other people give good advice and I would be wise to listen to it, but honestly, I’m the only one who can fix this. I need to stay calm and float along. Sometimes the current will pull me up or down, but I have to just paddle the best that I can with the best possible boat I can create. Obsession and addiction are the abnormalities that could cause me to capsize. But only if I let them. Austen Berj Brooks, ‘Journey Through Sobriety,’ May 21, 2014.