A letter to my 17 year old self

I initially got this idea from something called a message to my 14-year old self. It was a feminist-inspired idea, but it’s stuck with me except that I didn’t want to talk to my 14-year old self. I instead chose the most critical point in my life as a teenager and that period would be the time right before and after my 17th birthday. This time of my life was very difficult, and I won’t get into all the details here, suffice to say though that my survival at that point wasn’t guaranteed by a long shot. I did get through it though, and I’m still doing things that I learned in that time today.

To My 17-year old self!

Hi, there it’s me! Yourself from 30 years down the road. As I sit here writing this less than six months away from being 30 years clean and sober. I’m going to tell you some things you need to know.

I know what you just went through! You just got sick and tired of having everyone, including your family dump crap on you, and it felt like nobody was there to help. And you know what except for a couple of people nobody was there or even cared. And that is the very first thing you need to know. Brother wasn’t there nor was any male in the family. You need to keep this in mind for the future when it comes to your male relatives.

So where do I start with you? A lot of the lessons I’ve learned cannot be told to you because you’re simply too immature, don’t have the requisite knowledge or experience to see it. Or it’s information that you simply won’t accept or want to hear, especially when it comes to your immediate family. I also don’t want you to become me. What I mean by that is while I have no regrets about some of my choices. I didn’t do or put off doing things that I was too fearful of, or didn’t have the support emotionally to do. Nor did I even know how or where to go to ask for outside support. I also don’t know if Time is a direct line or a series of diverging possibilities based on my choices. As oddly happy as I am with my life right now, I don’t want you to be me. I want you to be a better version of me. Therefore, I’m going to leave out some negative events that happened on purpose. Not because I dislike but because the lessons learned from those incidents created opportunities that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

You’re sitting there at your grandma’s right now. You’re not in the same kind of pain you were in a couple of months ago, but you’re far from OK. That’s why you’re there and yes your sister will show up and she will provide you with a solution. One that is going to require a lot of work on your part to make your recovery happen. But do go along with it on this occasion she won’t steer you wrong. But I will add this to it though, your brother in law is an asshole! Your feelings about him even then were spot on. Take it, run with it and work it as best and as hard as you can. All the other things you do in your life will not happen unless you do. Yes dude the 12 steps will save your life it won’t be the same 12-step program as your sister but it will save you.

Yeah you were that big of a douchebag! Yes, you did do those things, I realize that you thought you were funny, but you weren’t. Thing is though is that you have the power to stop it now and to not do that anymore. This one thing will stop the emotional bleeding.

One thing that will come up is the possibility of you staying down in Vancouver and finishing school there. If you can do this, then do it, find a way to make it happen. You have no friends up in Prince George and yes, you did and have done some incredibly and stupid things in the last few months. The people up there won’t let you off the hook for them either. You have nothing to prove, and they won’t listen!

I’m Going to assume that you will stay in the nest though. When you get back, Ice Hockey is out of the question. It’s hard to believe that I haven’t put on hockey equipment in nearly 30 years too. You have too much baggage there, and it’s for the best.

Don’t drink or use drugs, trust me on this one.

Find a way to keep going to meetings, simply being with your mom in that house will cause you to backslide. I’ll explain why later but do keep going to meetings no matter what.

Stay out of relationships especially in te next few months. You’ll likely stay out of them because you’re you. Stay away from them you don’t need any more issues.

You’re not going to graduate in 1985! Too much damage is done to recover. I’m going to leave the choice of whether you want to go to te grad ceremony to you though. For me it was a bad experience, It also provided me with a lesson that helped later on.

As soon as the school year is over leave Prince George never go back. Find a way to make it happen. I decided to go into treatment that might be an option for you.

That moment when you’re sitting in the principals office deciding on classes? Take the artistic ones, not the ones your mom said have a “future”. Yes, there’s a future there for people but not for you. Being an artist is a grind but it’s a much happier life than you’ll have than just working for a living.

Work the Steps, Get a sponsor, go to meetings. In fact, do the steps as fast as you can. The one thing that came out of your Step Five that you’ll remember is that, yes, it is as simple as the relationship between you and your mom.

Take the suggestion and don’t go straight to college out of high school. Figure it out, you already have a good idea of what you wanted to do. You’ve known since you were ten years old, and it hasn’t changed. I’m doing it now as a calling, by the way. I shudder to think where I’d be if I started a lot earlier.

What Mom is trying to tell you about the male relatives in the family is that they won’t be there for you! In fact emotionally you’re on your own period. So do your best to build up a support system that doesn’t have the family in it. They’re good for emergencies but not much else. You’ll have to do it anyway so doing it now is a lot better than doing it later.

Why do I tell you this? Because the same people that are going to save your ass in a few days have Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Your life and how you conduct yourself will be seen as an extension of them. They’ll help you only so far as it takes you to start bringing the family issues to the table. Once that happens, your family will get in the way of your progress. In fact, I don’t know whether you’ll like me telling you this but your mom will get in the way a year from now, BIG TIME! You need to separate yourself from them as soon as you can. I’m not saying don’t talk to them at all. Just remember that what you say to one of them you’re saying to all of them. And they will use that against you whenever they can.

Oh and last but not least! Don’t ever get married! Know your rights as person, and never be ashamed of being you. I’ve learned to embrace being the Black Sheep! I love being the Black Sheep it gives me a freedom that so many others never have. It’s not a label to be ashamed of anymore.

Life is going to take you in strange directions stay honest and keep going to meetings and working your program no matter what.

That’s all for now there’s a lot more to let you know about you’re a full blown Men’s Rights Activist now, and that’s a long story in of itself. Just remember that you’re worth it no matter what anyone else says about you.

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