Troy's Times - September 2007
(Some ch^racters in th1s newsletter have been altered to keep it from being filtered out as spam)
IN THIS ISSUE
“It is not important How we come to the events in our lives, but how we Deal with those events”- Troy
This Month's Featured Article:
How Do I Change the Unchangeable?
“Change your thoughts and you change your world.”
Norman Vincent Peale
There is no such thing as an unchangeable situation. If there is one message that you should take with you from this article, that is it.
Over the years, I have had the benefit of meeting thousands of people. Everyone has their own story. Some people describe personal tragedies, some describe situations that seem impossible to escape, and still others have become so bogged down in their life that they don’t even know how to take a first step anymore.
When these people ask for advice, I tell them that there is one thing that can always be changed and that is your attitude. If you tell yourself that there is no way out of a situation over and over again, then you’ll be right. You can go through life pointing at all of the reasons that things will never change. You can lay the reasons out one after the other, point to each of them and say, “see I told you so.” In reality, however, all you’ve done is pointed out all of the excuses you’ve made to build yourself your own internal prison.
I can feel the argument boiling up inside of some of my readers. The “you don’t understands” and the “you’re oversimplifying the situations” are already perched on their lips with indignity ready to spring forth. And yet I say, you can always change your attitude.
The fact of the matter is, we all have things in our lives that we cannot change. We can’t for example, change the death of a loved one, things that happened to us when we where younger, or the fact that a spouse left us. But, remember what I said in past articles.
“It is not important how we come to the events in our life. What is important is how we deal with those events.”
If you are going through life in misery, or things haven’t turned out the way you planned and you’re stuck in your own existence, you have only one person to blame—yourself. Sadly, we’re often so busy pointing our fingers at other people and circumstances that we don’t realize that each time we do that, we are in fact giving our power away. Every time you make an excuse that makes you the victim, you are taking away any chance that you have of making yourself whole again.
When I first started using drugs, my father was furious. He tried grounding me, locking me out of the house, threatening my freedom, in short everything that he could think of to make me do what was right. He had been raised on a farm with a good work ethic and a strong set of family obligation and morals. In his eyes, everything that I was doing was flying in the face of what should be done. Meanwhile, he was quickly exhausting the list of things that he felt could be done to turn me around.
As far as he was concerned, he had raised me “right.” He had shown me discipline, role-modeled strength and responsibility, and it was just unbelievable to him that he had this son who couldn’t seem to do right even once in a while just by accident. He was doomed to being the guy with the drug addict son.
As I said before, my family did manage a few interventions during my days using. On one such occasion, they managed to get me into a fantastic, and very expensive program at a place called Cottonwood Hills. It was a 30-day, in-patient treatment program that started with five to six days of detox, took us through the usual 12 steps and then ended with what they called family week.
During that week, we first went to speak to families of other members of the treatment program. This was meant to show that none of us were alone in our problems and that drugs affected people of all walks of life.
After that, we had to deal with our own families through a variety of exercises. For the first time in a while, my father and I were forced to talk to each other. They gave us a series of exercises to do.
The first exercise required us to tell each other what we were angry about. We each had a very long list, mine surrounding our move and his around my drug use and disrespect.
Next, we each had to come up with a list of things that we didn’t like about the other person. Honestly, we probably each could have gone on all day long with this assignment, each of us was so angry with the other. That was easy. We had been doing that for years.
In the next exercise, however, we had to write down a list of things that we liked about each other. I managed to write down two or three things. My father came back to the room with one. We had been adversaries for so long at this point that we couldn’t even remember the days when I was younger and we were best buddies. We couldn’t remember the days at the ball fields or the hunting trips or the talks around the dinner table. We were both so invested in being angry at one another, that we had lost the foundation for having had any other kind of relationship.
At that point, the counselor sent us back to our tables and told us that we were not going to be able to finish the assignment until we had at least half as many good things to say about each other as we had bad. He told us that he didn’t care if it was something that we felt now or in the past or even if we had to make them up. The next time we came together, we were going to say only nice things to each other.
Talk about changing perspective. Once we stopped resisting the process, you could see us both releasing our aggressive postures. We were meeting each other with kindness rather than accusations for the first time in years. We were changing our attitudes toward one another, letting go of the adversarial roles, and remembering that we were family members who loved one another deep down. That would never change.
The last exercise we were assigned was to each tell the other person what we felt we could have done differently and what parts of the past we each took responsibility for.
My part was easy. I was a drug addict who had thrown my life away. I knew it, he knew it, and our neighborhood knew it. I had been expecting that part of the session and it came to me almost by rote.
But then it was my dad’s turn and I got the surprise of my life. The last exercise had opened his eyes to me again for the first time in years. It had let him see me as the son who had looked to him for love and guidance. I was expecting to hear him tell me that it was all my fault and that he did everything that he could. That is what I had heard for years. Instead he started to cry and told me he was sorry.
He was sorry for not knowing better how to help me through my problems. He was sorry for taking such a hard-handed approach to parenting instead of realizing that it wasn’t working and changing his ways back then. He was sorry for uprooting the entire family and turning a deaf ear to my cries for help. He was sorry for the role that he had played in allowing his little boy to turn into a drug addict with nothing to live for.
On that day, the unchangeable was changed. I wish that I could say that I walked out of that clinic a drug free man for life, but you already know that that’s not true. What did change was my relationship with my father. We hugged that day for the first time in years. We allowed ourselves to love each other and remember what it had been like when I was a boy. We both had been living without that feeling for so long, and yet, there it was the entire time. That day might not have been the ultimate solution, but we both left that session with the feeling that a hole had been filled. We were more complete than we had been when we came. We found out that there was something more important than being right or winning the argument. It didn’t matter who had done what to whom as long as he was still my father and I was still his son.
That was the day that we laid the first pieces of foundation from which we have been able to build a fantastic relationship. If we had never taken the opportunity to change our attitudes, even if only under duress, we might never have known again, what it feels like to be father and son. Our only regret, is that we didn’t change sooner. It might have made all of the difference in my world.
On the day I just described, my father and I had one thing in common; we thought that our relationship was irreparable and lost forever. Yet in one exercise, that counselor was able to change our perceptions forever. We were so caught up in the futility of the situation and in our own anger, that it never even occurred to us that we could simply change our minds and operate out of forgiveness and love by opening our hearts to one another again. The answer to the unanswerable, the change in the unchangeable was that simple.
What I’m asking you to consider is that, perhaps, there is a way to change your situation. Perhaps there is a solution to the problems that you perceive to be insurmountable, and all you have to do to find it, is to believe that it exists.
Change your perspective. Stop looking at your situation from the negative and start taking steps toward the positive. Choose not to lose your future to self-pity or despair and make up your mind in this instant that things can be different.
I told you before about my relationship with my son while I was in prison. I met many people inside that had given up their relationships as soon as they went in. They were so ashamed that they denied their children the sight of them, their correspondence, their rights to a father.
As I said, I had a different attitude. If I was going to be in prison for more than a decade, I was going to be the best prison dad possible. In fact, I was probably being the best dad that Eric had ever known because, for the first time in his life, he wasn’t having to talk to me through a drug haze. He had my undivided attention when we were together and he received a letter from me every single day of my incarceration.
I told you about my friend Jack earlier as well. Remember the high school buddy of mine who freaked out at the quarry and ran into the woods for hours because he was so high on acid that he didn’t know what was reality and what was hallucination anymore. He could have let drugs beat him like it did the rest of us in the group. Instead, he started doing drywall, built a small business for himself which he grew into a large business, and now he owns a horse ranch in Colorado.
I had another friend inside who had descended so far into the world of crime that when the police came to raid his house for the drugs and weapons stashed inside he actually shot at the police helicopter and tried to bring it down. As you can imagine, he was given a substantially longer prison term than my own. He not only earned his bachelors, but also went on to obtain a masters and is now a manager at a car dealership.
There are endless stories that go the same way. There is no such thing as a situation that cannot be changed.
I can’t tell you what the solution to your problem is, but I can
tell you that there is one. I can also speak from experience when I say
that people who climb out of the victim role and start taking accountability
for where they are in their lives and where they are going tend to make
their own luck. The moment that I made the decision to put down the excuses
and take responsibility for my lot in life, good things started happening
to me. Call it Karma or the hand of God. Call it whatever you want, but
as far as I’m concerned it happens too often to be coincidence.
letter from a recent client - Click hear to read!
I often had a hopeless feeling knowing that all I could offer were words of encouragement and support and the sharing of my own downfall....that was until I became partners with a company called DrugTALK.
DrugTALK is a v1rtual life coach dedicated to helping families, parents and young people overcome the threat and dangers of drugs through the privacy of their home. They do this by delivering the insight, tools and activities needed for parents to protect their children by putting vital protection principles into practice, often without parents even realizing it.
Their programs and tools are based on decades of research and supported by a dynamic team of communication experts, family intervention specialists, treatment professionals, narcotics intelligence officers, life coaches, parents and---most importantly---teens who have faced the world of drugs first-hand.
The CEO of DrugTALK happened to attend one of my speaking engagements
and after talking I skeptically took one of his Drug Reference Guides
and a DVD. Having lived through the hell of drug abuse I had my whole
adult life been conv1nced that nothing short of expensive in-patient treatment
centers could break the hold that drugs have on our young people. After
thoroughly studying what DrugTalk has to offer I was blown away- I can
honestly say that h^d these tools been available to me during my teenage
years that I most likely would have avoided the hell I put myself and
NEW HARDBACK BOOK -
If you live in or near one of the following cit1es where Troy will be speaking over the next few months, please contact The Ev^ns Groups for details on an opportunity that does not come around often- see Troy present for free!
Commission for booking me - I offer a comm1ssion of 10%-20% ($750.00-$1,500.00) for anyone who refers me for speaking engagements and/or bulk product sales. Please contact The Evans Group for details.
Subscriber opinions and impressions of this electronic newsletter: I invite subscribers to write me with their quest1ons as well and I will answer them in the next issue. Also readers, I invite you to send in profiles of yourself and how you have used the inform^tion from my electronic newsletter, products or speech in your personal and/or professional lives. Once a month I will feature one individual for all others to read about!
Note: You are free to reprint any portion of this electronic newsletter as long as the portion remains complete and unaltered, and the “About the Author” section is included.
About the Author- Troy Evans is a profess1onal speaker and author who resides in Phoenix, AZ with his wife Pam and his dog Archibald. Troy travels the country delivering keynote presentations, and since his release from prison has taken the corporate and association pl^tforms by storm. Overcoming adversity, adapting to change and pushing yourself to realize your full potential- other speaker’s talk about these issues, Troy has walked them.