Grand Canyon

     One of the things that tortured me about being sober was the enormous space between who I was and who I wanted to be. Being jammed helped me forget about what I could do with my life, but sober, it hit me like a ton of bricks. All of my abilities stared me in the face. Ruled by fear, I never pushed through my feelings of self-consciousness and insecurity to just do what I loved. I never really pursued my gifts… yet remained convinced that I was put on earth to write songs and stories, play music and act.

     The great canyon between who I was in reality and who I knew I could be felt too overwhelming. Crossing this great divide was too far a journey. I barely took a first step without going to pieces. And it was this very gap that killed me. It ripped me apart inside. It was this predicament that caused me endless agony. It fed and fueled my depression. It maintained my state of sober paralysis. And finally, it convinced me that the easier choice would be to just become a drug addict. Doing what I loved would require feeling uncomfortable at times, and being the loser that I was, that was completely unacceptable.

     Ironically, now that I’m sober and actively working on myself, things have changed. One thing is that I don’t consider my art to be the most important thing in life anymore. First is my relationship with God. Then my family. And then my art – music, writing, acting. But without my spiritual health, nothing else is possible or sustainable. Once I start trying to make my own decisions, once I start trying to control my life, once I start acting on self-will, it all goes to shit. So if it is God’s will that I play music or write or act, then so be it. Then I can do it and do it well. Then I can even succeed in it. But if it is not God’s will, then I must do other things.

     What I’ve learned is that it’s basically okay to either use these gifts or not use them. As long as I’m at peace inside and as long as my conscience is clean, then it really doesn’t matter what I’m doing. I’m happy as a clam doing menial labor so long as I am okay inside. But I’m also quite sure God doesn’t want us to hoard our gifts. As long as we do the right thing, we should use them and share them with the world. But I’ve learned to let go of the result. Before, I needed to have a hit album, a #1 bestseller, and a movie deal in like two weeks or else I’d become infuriated and hopeless and quit. Now I can just play music or write or act for the sake of doing it. If something becomes of it… great. If nothing happens at all… great.

     All I care about now is making sure that I’m being useful to God and to others. All that matters now is that I’m being a good husband, son, brother and friend. All that matters is that I am doing what God wants me to do… and that pretty much means giving of myself.

God, teach me not to hoard my gifts, and to let go of the result…

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