Sometimes we aren’t addicted to a substance or alcohol. Sometimes, we are addicted to something else. Whatever that might be, the experience is the same for those who are going through a fight to overcome what is in front of us. A long time ago after I had a my first elbow surgery, the doctors prescribed me two medications which in combination turned me into a shell of myself. I was completely useless. Permanently in a daze. The pain was gone, but after two weeks of this I had to go back into the office and beg for them to give me something else that didn’t have the side effects. Instead of giving me anything else, they told me that I probably didn’t need pain killers anymore and to just take Advil if I was in any pain. Thank god I thought that I was off of whatever they gave me. Little did I know the absolute hell I was going to go through. I remember my body itching and feeling like something was crawling under my skin. I looked up symptoms of withdrawals. Check. Check. Check. Check. But I promised myself to get out of it. This is a tiny example in comparison to what many go through with drugs and alcohol. I had a little glimpse of this pain…and knew that I would never venture into the land of substance abuse. I don’t like feeling out of control of my own body.

Like I said before though, there are many people who aren’t addicted to something that you can snort, shoot, or smoke. Pain, depression, sex, the list goes on. Their pain is just as bad as those who are ingesting their demise. And that’s what it really is. A path towards demise. Sometimes our minds are infected. This is incredibly dangerous because our mind is very convincing to our body. Whatever it thinks we become. If the mind is weak…the body will follow. By the way…I hope that you don’t think I am writing out of my ass here…this comes from deep down from experience.

Once you decide to drag your mind out of the gutter, the rest will follow. That’s why I started writing three years ago. I saw my path. I knew where it was headed…because I was given an incredible moment of clarity that I will never forget. That moment changed my course drastically, and while it hasn’t been easy and there has been that metaphorical “itch” and “relapse” a few times on the journey, the compass has always pointed in the right direction. You can overcome horrible things. I have seen it with my own eyes and I have seen others do it. But this has to be the start. Admittance. Standing…looking in the mirror and admitting that whatever it is…you’re addicted. Without the truth, everything else falls apart.

As I think more and more about the purpose of this project, it becomes clear to me that it is a search for truth. For what is right in life. Not what the world shows me, but what I can truly feel deep down in this heart of mine. I have been on the battlefield for three years, and I would never consider retreating to safety. The bullets flying, the bombs going off, the death of dreams and the loss of friends are all going on in this battle in my mind. But with all this loss, I have seen amounts of victory and bravery that I never knew I was capable of. I have overcome things that I knew were going to tear me apart if I didn’t learn from myself. Life is not always about being able to see the sun…it is also about being able to dance in the rain. This battlefield will come to an end one day, but until that time I continue fighting on. There is not a day that goes by where I don’t find something inside of myself that I need to dig out from the depths and bring to the light. Once it is exposed to light though…it crumbles. It gives me more and more reason to believe that our fears are a lie and all we have to do is have the courage to see ourselves truly for the way we are.

I have much left to do…but there is one major thing I need to charge at with all my might. Fear is present, but the courage in me and the sound of my heart pounding will outweigh that timidness.

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project