I would like to introduce you to Just a Thought.
The really big life-changing breakthroughs we experience in our lives sometimes begin as tiny thoughts planted in our brains by someone else who has had a breakthrough, kinda like finding an oasis in a desert. It is when we pass on these tiny thoughts that are crystallizations of real experiences that we save one another.
Think about these small thoughts for a moment!
You only hit bottom when you quit digging.
We build our own cages.
You cannot lose what is not yours.
It is always darkest before the dawn.
There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.
If you carry the bricks of your past with you, you will build the same house.
You have everything you need to be happy.
You only lose what you cling to.
You are as free as you decide to be.
You never arrive at happiness; you just learn to live it.
Change is the only constant in life, might as well get used to it now.
I can think back to a specific time and place where a friend, associate or total stranger shared with me a story that lit up one of these tiny thoughts.
Like the time after my first AA meeting.
I was invited out to dinner by these guys who took note of the fact I was a newcomer. It was June 14, 1985, I was 36 years old and my life was in a shambles. We ate at the very restaurant that I owned at the time (and that would close six weeks later).
I sat next to a guy at dinner who couldn’t have been less like me. The kind of guy who, the night before, I would have paid no mind. A man of few words, a tradesman, a carpenter who ran a small construction company that specialized in building foundations.
At that time I knew him only as Gary. After we ordered our food I turned to Gary and asked him how long he’d been going to these AA meetings. He said, “Nine years,” and I thought to myself “Wow, nine years! That’s a long time and a lot of meetings.” I then asked, “How long do you have to go to meetings?” He said, “Just long enough to where you like the meetings and forget the question of how long you have to go to meetings.”
Now, I thought to myself, that was an answer I’d need to think about.
I then shared with him a question that had been troubling me for some time. In fact, it was the question that had hung me up about even starting this AA program, and that was the question about hitting bottom. I always heard that, for us drinkers, AA was the place you’d land when you hit bottom. My image of an AA meeting was a dingy, half-lit room in a church basement, filled with winos, crackheads, street walkers and ex-cons commiserating over their dead end lives. The meeting I’d just attended was nothing like that. My first AA meeting was populated by individuals from a cross-section of social and economic backgrounds. They were people just like me.
So this burning question for which I needed an answer I put to this tradesman with nine years of sobriety:
How do you know when you’ve hit bottom?
Gary turned and looked at me without pondering my question and said:
YOU QUIT DIGGING.
Gary then shared his story with me for the next three hours. The stuff that most of us hide away in locked memory boxes flowed from him like water. His honesty and willingness to share allowed me to do the same and before the night was over I understood what he meant by “You quit digging.” Finally, it all made sense to me that I had at my disposal the means to pick up the pieces of my shattered life and start over. It all began with:
This jewel of an insight
This revolutionary concept
It was to be the little thought that would rock my world and set me upon a new path.
The journey that has ensued since I first heard this thought has lasted over 30 years and continues to this very day to inform my life.
That’s what Just a Thought is all about – the sharing of simple, everyday life experience that when fully absorbed has the potential to change the course of a person’s life.
You have had them just like I have. I’m excited for Just a Thought to become a conversation. Initially, posts will come out twice a week. Feel free to comment and join in dialogue together. Please keep comments respectful; remember that all of us are broken souls who can benefit from our collective wisdom and encouragement.
And in so doing, light a little candle in the life of another who currently is without light.
Just a thought…