by Gayle Boles
I’ve been through some pretty tough situations in my life. I was brutally raped when I was nineteen and at the age of thirty I went into a hepatic coma for three and a half months. I had a stroke while I was in the coma, which left me with a speech impediment and impaired my ability to walk. This led to numerous years of physical and speech therapy, and thankfully, my speech is now understandable and I get around quite well with a little three-wheeled walker.
I am proud to say that I am no longer overcome by problems; instead I calmly look at the lesson I should learn from them. I haven’t always been this way, as I am a recovering alcoholic who has been blessed with the gift of sobriety since July 1, 1980. Back then, the Alcoholics Anonymous program helped me to look at what I was doing to help create the problems in my life and subsequently change my behavior. I learned that sobriety, like life, is a journey, not a destination. I can be excited about each new day or not--the choice is up to me.
I know that God has a mission for me, and I just need to keep my eyes and ears open to understand what it might be. After many years of disappointing members of my family, they have become proud of all that I have accomplished. For example, I have been working for the state of Texas in a job that I enjoy for seventeen years, which has led to financial and emotional independence. Instead of concentrating on the negative aspects of the world, I now focus on what I can do to create a joyous environment. I really can create my own reality by identifying what’s making me uncomfortable and addressing it. If I make the choice to see the beauty of the world and the people around me, I can grow spiritually, which leads to being comfortable in my own skin and life. This is true peace and happiness.
I used to be so concerned with what other people thought of me and my actions. I was always trying to read their minds so I could meet their expectations. I thought everyone knew about every mistake I had made in my life and were labeling me accordingly. That was a very draining preoccupation that kept me from actually experiencing the wonderful things going on around me.
I am grateful to have a whole new life. I am able to give freely of my time and self to other people in my community. People seek my advice and enjoy my company. That’s not how anyone would have described my life before I got into recovery. It is so nice to have been able to change myself and the atmosphere around me. I am now aware of the many blessings in my life and face each day with a joyful heart. This change of attitude allows me to continue growing and blossoming into the woman I have always wanted to be.
Gayle Boles is a firm believer in the idea that life is an exciting adventure. She has been a psychotherapist for close to 30 years and previously worked as a teacher. She loves to travel and write about her experiences. You can find more of Gayle's work at her website, Gayle's Travels.
June 1, 2008