STEP ONE: Be The Captain - Part 3


Hey Awesome peeps. This is our last post for “Be The Captain”. How are you feeling? Are you struggling with your thoughts and emotions? I would think you would be. I sure am….this is tough stuff but I promise it's worth it. You’re worth it. Your worth every moment of every day you are present on this Earth. Remember that! We are all part of this incredible world with a vast ecosystem; we all contribute to its growth, our growth - Good or bad. So ask yourself, am I  contributing in the way that helps or hinders? You don't get to be neutral…...

Living with my mom was hell. She was a violent drunk and she was drunk a lot!! We eventually moved from the little crowded house to a house of our own in Ogden, (Calgary). Norm, my mom’s boyfriend soon to be husband was actually fairly stable and consistent. If it wasn't for him who knows where I would’ve ended up. He drank a lot as well and smoked pot daily…..first thing in the morning he was up and at it, cigarette and a toke with his coffee, then off to work, a ritual he practised daily. He never missed a day...and I mean never! He had to be on death's door before he missed work. These are new thoughts for me as I write this. Norm was actually a stable parent in my life. Always provided a home for us. Not much else but he was always there for me if I was in need for a place to land, avoiding homelessness. I think I learnt what consistency was from Norm. Show up, do the job you said you were gonna do whether you are hungover or sick, step up. That’s a good lesson in life. As soon as this new kid showed up on his doorstep (me) he switched gears and got us a house of our own. Thank you Norm. Obviously my mom wouldn't have done that.

I moved in with mom and Norm from ages 13 - 16. These were horribly difficult years. But for some weird reason I didn't want to go back to my dad’s. He was so mean and screwed up. I don't think I realized until recently... now since Maxine (step mom) and I can look and re-evaluate our events from a much older point of view. I didn't know my father was as abusive as he was until now. I knew I didn't want to be around him, he was always yelling, pissed about one thing today and then tomorrow it would be fine. That makes a person crazy after awhile…..I would rather have stayed with my violent mother than deal with that. Violence is obvious, it’s tangible, and its obviously not me, it's that person inflicting it. There’s a certain logic to that. My father was so passive aggressive, that’s hard to even talk about. Nobody really understands or can explain it, it just feels really shitty and then you start to wonder if it’s you. It breaks you down, bit by bit.

I stopped seeing Maxine and Dad through these three years…..mostly everyone worked and it was hard to coordinate. Mom and Norm didn't have a car so that made visits hard too. I didn't know how to use the bus system that well and there was incredible chaos happening with Maxine and Dad. They were on the verge of divorce because of his drinking. Tracey went into a depression after I left, Cameron was only 5 (my younger half brother) Shelley (my younger half sister) was just born...another little one for Maxine to deal with, never mind a screwed up abusive husband.

I had a job on the weekends with my older sister Jodie. She would come to pick me up fairly early. But this one morning she had come a bit too early…..“Lisa wake up, wake up. Tracey is dead...Tracey died.” WHAT. I jumped out of bed and tried to comprehend what she was saying… made no sense. I grabbed her and threw her down across my bed and started yelling “STOP LYING TO ME” I was not comprehending what she was saying. It was not going to enter my brain. NO NO NO……... Eventually it did.... Tracey had hung himself in his bedroom the night before. What the fuck! That moment, something inside me died…..

Being broken is the worst. How do you recover from such a thing? How does one actually move on and find the will to live with this utter dread from the most devastating loss? You have to find your inner captain….somehow…..Obviously I was a child, it will take time. But as an adult I know I have to be the one to fix myself, find a way to live the way I want, find peace, find harmony, fuck, find something…..

Be the Captain is step one for a reason. If you're not in charge of your life someone else is. You can't be neutral, there is no such thing. This doesn't mean shit isn’t gonna go down. It does, life happens as they say. But I alone am in charge of my life. Good or bad my life is the way it is because I made it that way. This is harsh but if you look at life from this point of view this is the reality. I could have taken a different path, started drinking or doing drugs….But I didn't. I knew that was not the answer, my older brother and sister went that route……it didn't end well for them. I knew I needed help….I just needed a sign.

I was driving down 10st in Calgary, towards Kensington. I was 18 yrs old at this point and there was this big sign lit up, and I’m not making this up…”Suicide Bereavement Centre”. It was right there in front of me….if ever there was a sign this was it!! I called. I needed therapy to deal with my brother’s death, no doubt. And I’m so thankful I was able to receive it at such a young age and so soon after my brother had died. The therapist I saw was amazing. Sheana, she saved my life. If you ever for some odd reason read this, thank you Sheana. This was a game changer in my life. Finding the right therapist was the tipping point I needed. Really it was. It showed me that I was not an island, we all need help and we need the right help. Self reflection is key, therapy is key if we need it and we all need it at some point. If you are the kind of person who is like “I don't need therapy” your just being an idiot, that's your ego talking. Go get therapy. If we can’t fix the things we know we need to we will be broken people forever….this is not a legacy I believe anyone wants to leave behind.

The 12 step program will cover all the steps needed for harmony and balance. But you are the one who does the work. You are in charge of your life. Be The Captain. Do the work, fix your life, keep the maintenance going and leave the legacy you want left behind. This is your life. As Bruce Lee said “A teacher is never a giver of truth; he is a guide, a pointer to the truth that each student must find for himself.”

This 12 Step Program is a guide, a program that I believe will bring us to our truth. It will not change you, you change you. You are the Captain of your destiny. Follow the steps, make them yours and live the life you dream of. Be Awesome.

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