Relationships are what you remember.
Love is what breaks through the barriers.
Peace is knowing who you are and
understanding you are exactly
where you need to be.
Austen Berj Brooks, July 26, 2014
What is a life? A life is precious and complex, a composite of many things. Physically it has a start and a finish, but on another level, it has no boundaries – first, because you never stop caring or thinking about the one who is not here, and you certainly never stop loving him and, second, because all lives leave a legacy. The lasting effect a person has on us, the day-to-day dealings he had with us, the feelings, perceptions, thoughts, ideas that the person shared with us – those live on. Even more so when those reflections are expressed in writing. I am grateful to have Austen’s words. A life, a legacy that lives on and can be shared. The lovely gem above is from his ‘Journey Through Sobriety,’ dated July 26, 2014, when he was 22 years old and almost 5 months sober. A young man reaching for the stars, reflecting, earnest in his hopes, wise for his years:
I want to believe that the sky is the limit. . . . I want to be successful, I want to keep growing and taking off like a rocket. I want girls in my life. Cute girls, interesting girls, dark girls, light hearted girls, fun girls, thoughtful girls. . . . I’m determined to overcome any obstacle, push through any barrier. Reach for the stars, taste greatness. Average just won’t do, pretty good is not enough. I want to find someone who understands me and who I can be myself with. I want my art to become something I can truly be proud of. I want to be an honest, understanding, funny, confident person. I want to be responsible and reliable. I just want things to start to come together in my life. I am so tired of waiting for it to finally happen. All I can do is try to be myself and be a good person. All I can do is keep working hard, stay sober, stay positive and strive for greatness. . . . I just need to keep things straight. I just need to stay on top of things. I just need to find that groove where I just follow the natural order of things and fly through life like a slalom skier with speed and precision. . . .
I need to elevate myself. I need to enlighten myself. Don’t stoop down to the level of the world. Stay above the storms and turbulence. I have to give myself up to the universal forces that govern all of us. I have to look for the more difficult answer, the difficult path. After all, willingly or unwillingly, wittingly or unwittingly, this is the path I have followed in my life. The path of suffering and hard realities. Big questions and hard answers. There is now light at the end of the tunnel, but I continue to panic and worry that I’m not acting right or not heading in the right direction. This is an illusion. I want to be back to being positive about my life and where it’s heading, after all, why shouldn’t I be? I just need to slow down, reflect, center myself. I want to feel happiness and wonder and amazement. At least some of the time. The truth of life lends itself to these emotions as well as their counterparts. If I can make meaningful progress. If I can have good relationships. If I can have fun. If I can stay positive that I won’t be alone forever. Life is good.
You have been blessed with so much in this unfair world. The most important thing you have been given a second chance. Even if your world is not right where you want it to be at this moment, you now have the chance to get there. Almost 5 months of sobriety. Who would ever thought. It hasn’t sunk in fully. Most things never do. Life is too fleeting.
Relationships are what you remember. Love is what breaks through the barriers. Peace is knowing who you are and understanding you are exactly where you need to be.
If I can love myself then I will no longer need someone to love me and eventually they will enter the picture naturally and we will be a sum greater than our individual parts.
Austen Berj Brooks, July 26, 2014