I admitted my failure, step one.
— Ryan Eagle (@EagleWebAssets) June 15, 2014
I finally admitted not only to myself, but another individual of my failures recently. It’s been a humbling and painful day but it’s the first step towards progress. I had to swallow my pride and realize what I was doing was wrong and not acceptable behavior. I had to catch the problem before it became a real problem – a problem out of control. I never want to go back to my past I’m questioning myself in how I let it get to this. How did it happen? What did I do wrong? How can I fix it ongoing? How did I make it through all the pain only to fold now? For now it’s back to basics – prayer, taking life one day at a time, being honest, not trying to handle it on my own, and seeking help.
Around this time of the year I like to make a post about the happenings and goings of my life. By the grace of God I reached three years of sobriety on Independence Day, 2011 and for that I’m eternally grateful. I of all people understand that what I have is a gift, a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of my spiritual condition. Three years ago I would have never imagined even sayingwords like this, but today I hold these words close to my heart and mind. I tried for two years to get sober with no luck. I thought that I was a man constitutionally incapable of being honest with myself; I thought I was doomed, I had nearly given up.
During these two years I tried every trick in the book to live a normal life. I tried to only use a couple weeks a month, I tried to only drink on the weekends, I left college because people partied too hard there, I didn’t drink hard liquor, I only used drugs, I only drank, and the list goes on and on. Every experiment ended with the same result: complete and utter addiction. At my final bottom I was at a point of incomprehensible demoralization with no options left other than dying, going to jail, or changing my entire thought process to try a different way of living.
The amount of ego that I had built up throughout the years of financial success finally had been broken down entirely and there were no options left. My way of life simply was not working, and I had to finally take the suggestions given to me. For a man that thought praying, God and everything associated to it was for inferior people – taking a chance to try this was huge for me. I still remember the first prayer and the amount of resistance I had with it making it: “To whomever is up there, God, if anyone is listening, will you help keep me sober today.”
From that day I never took another drink or drug again. Over time, the prayers evolved from a hesitant practice to a close relationship that I actually believed was keeping me sober. For me to stay sober entirely from drugs and alcohol for a week, a month, three months was entirely impossible by myself. I only changed one thing in my attempt at sobriety – prayer. It became completely apparent and real to me that a Higher Power was taking care of me. I still keep this concept fresh in my head – not a day goes by that I don’t ask God to help keep me sober and thank him at night. I completely believe that He did for me what I could not do for myself.
The absolute most important part in me staying sober and living a happy life is maintaining and strengthening this connection with God through prayer; by asking for help and thanking him for it. Although I’m not always pleased with what life gives me and I still feel the same pains as everyone else, I keep my trust entirely in God and have faith that he will take care of me. I am truly grateful for every day that I get to wake up on this earth because during my time in sobriety and working with other alcoholics, I’ve seen so many go that didn’t get the chance that I did. For them, I stay sober and try to pass on what has been so freely given to me.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m still an arrogant asshole – but do not mistake that for ingratitude for what I’ve been blessed with. I’ve fought my way up from the depths of a living hell and rebuilt what I have now – what can I say, it’s hard not to stunt. Everything that I have now: the tools to get through the rough times, loving relationships with people that actually care, material success, and more that I cannot even begin to list has been given to by God – I’ve just put in the footwork to get it. I’ve been on both sides of the street, and I can honestly say that my focus, emotional condition, spirituality and overall health has been at an all time high being sober. For anyone reading this blog with problems or even potential problems – there is light at the end of the tunnel. I’m a prime example of hard work and sobriety working out.
All I ever wanted in life was a Range Rover, an icy watch and a fresh pair of Air Force Ones – looking back it’s amazing how much farther I’ve come and what I went through to get where I’m at. When I first started working I was still in high school; working a part time job and somehow managing to put in another full time workload into developing websites that made little money. I was a big dreamer and money was the motivation; I associated success entirely with material possession. As I worked longer hours, the money stacks started adding up. I quit my job, picked up my blunt and got on the nonstop hustle. The riches came pouring in and I wanted nicer cars, clearer diamonds, bigger sacks, and shorter skirts. More – the only thing I cared about.
I attributed my success to my drug use and continued that full throttle. I was the man; self-made and self-paid. I had my own house, car, everything – why couldn’t I do a little of this and a little of that? I was too smart to get addicted to anything. As this mindset progressed my life continued to run smoothly, further reinforcing it. But life took me for a turn – as quickly as I rose up financially, everything started to go wrong. Outwardly, things looked fine, but inside I was torn apart. I was going through life like a drone without emotions and with an ego too big for my own good. As the use got more excessive, I rationalized by ignoring the signs and solely looking at the success of my business – an addict couldn’t ever have gotten as far as I have, right?
My life spiraled out of control and I lost scope of what was important. It wasn’t about working anymore; it was about waking up and partying all day. It was about fueling my ego more with fake people. Friends would drop and new ones would come – it didn’t faze me. I made relationships and lost them; it didn’t faze me! All I cared about was me and my substance; I didn’t care about anything or anyone else.
This drug fueled lifestyle got me into a lot of trouble: spiritually, mentally, legally and emotionally I was a broken man. I may have had a bank account with a couple digits in it but that’s all I had. Everything was clearly showing me to stop, but at the time I was so shortsighted I couldn’t see the big picture. After a long series of horrible events (I could write a book on just this) I decided it was time for me to get sober. For the first time I wanted to get sober for myself and for my own life: not for the legal system, my parents, a girlfriend or anything. Completely for myself.
I was beaten into willingness and did what I needed to do. I white-knuckled it for months, worked on building a relationship with God and slowly but surely I made it through month and month. That was two years ago – and I can now truly say that I’m living on borrowed time. I rose up from the depths of a living hell to become a man with character, gratitude and a newfound will to do the next right thing. I was given the gift of sobriety – and I refuse to give that back.
Even though it’s like I’m living in a dream, it’s not always like it seems: I still feel the same pains as you. I still have my highs and lows in life but I now have confidence that God will take care of me in the long run. I do not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it – it’s molded who I am now. I decided to share the harder times in my life to show you that everyone, even Birdman himself, has gone through the trials of life and come out stronger than ever. You CAN rise up and make it through it – no matter what you’re going through.
I feel alive! I’m grateful for my family, sobriety, friends, business, my beautiful girlfriend, and my personal connection with God. I was graced by god with a second chance, and I’m thankful for everyday I get a chance to wake up. I’m going to make the best of what was given to me – and I thank everyone for the support. Another day, one day at a time. 8 Months Sober