At Any Time, You Can Change Your Path

I heard this poem for the first time when I spent a week drying-out at the local detox center. A little old man with a deep but soft voice, who was the counselor, read it to us one morning. I don’t know why it got stuck in my head that morning, because it was still several years before I got sober, but that was the first time I realized that I can take a different path in life.
Path

AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN 5 SHORT CHAPTERS
From the book: There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk by Portia Nelson

Chapter I
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.

Chapter II
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
Chapter III
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
Chapter IV
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
Chapter V
I walk down another street.
—–

I love this little poem. I fell into that hole many, many times before I realized that I could just walk down a different street. Instead, I was constantly searching for a way to not fall in the hole. That was my drinking cycle; I desperately wanted to drink without getting totally obliterated, or losing everything, but without actually stopping drinking. I also did not see that I was the problem; I blamed the world for my drinking! – Notice the changed from It isn’t my fault. to It is my fault. in the poem. – The realization that it actually was my fault, and that I was the cause, and that I needed to stop drinking, was a definite the turning point for me. Sure, that was tough and really hard to take on, but by placing it on me I was also able to recognize that I could also change it! I finally understood that I didn’t have to always figure things out or contemplate all the reasons why and how. I didn’t have to battle everything and everyone and I didn’t have to find all the solutions to all the problems.All I had to do is stay open-minded enough to see when I just need to walk down a different street.

How do you relate to this poem?


If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with alcohol addiction, please click the Find Support link for an extensive list of support groups. Also please check out the links to many useful resources in the sidebar, and always feel free to contact me anytime at sobercourage@gmail.com.

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