A while back I was asked to write a guest post on the topic, “Advice I Would Give My Younger Self,” I didn’t hesitate, thinking it would be a breeze. Either it was lack of sleep or too few cups of coffee (both, I think) because it took a while before realizing the enormity of the assignment. You see, my younger self was a mess. I should have had Self Will Run Riot tattooed on my forehead rather than the butterfly on my derriere. (Tattoos on women are commonplace now but not in a small-town in the 70’s.)
Recalling my past antics (and cringing), the advice I would tender would be to listen to your parents, remain close to God, pay attention to the little voice in your head and last but not least … love and respect yourself. Had I done those things I would have avoided decades of pain due to alcoholism and the subsequent consequences … promiscuity, unplanned pregnancies which led to abortion, estrangement from family and multitudes of failed relationships, all leading to a suicide attempt and institutionalization.
Pretty gloomy, huh? Well, don’t pull out the Kleenex … Through the grace and mercy of God, love and support of my family and some very good programs, I was able to climb out of the well of darkness into the light. I followed the advice I would have given my younger self and am nearing eighteen years of sobriety, in a wonderful marriage, active in my church community and became a caregiver to my parents. (Who would have ever imagined they would trust me with their care, let alone move in with me!).
I would be remiss if I didn’t add one more pieces of advice: Forgive yourself. If you can’t, you’ll never quite reach the top of that dark well. You’ll always live in the shadow of remorse and regret and miss out on the joyous and wonderful life God wants you to have.