“You think about what is going on, where you are going to be, off in the middle of nowhere, stuck in a shelter and it worries you,” — Samantha Garvey
You probably do not know who Samantha Garvey is, personally I have never met her, but I had the opportunity to read up on her in Newsday Online a Long Island Newspaper. Samantha was chosen as a 2012 National Intel Science contest Semifinalist. Not an easy fete to say the least there are a total of 300 across the country.
Why would I be writing about an Intel Semifinalist on a recovery Blog you might ask? Well, for a couple of reasons, but let me first tell you Samantha’s story. Samantha is currently homeless, and she has been in the past. In fact she was forced to switch elementary schools three times in one year! Her parents lost their jobs due to injury from a car accident in January 2011 and were eventually forced out of their residence into a hotel and then a shelter.
Through it all Samantha has remained upbeat and focused. Newsday quotes, “The drive she has is unsurpassable,” said Garvey’s guidance counselor, Karin Feil. “She has overcome more obstacles than any other student I have seen. She takes advantage of anything offered to her.” (Newsday 1/12/2012).
Without a long diatribe, here are the lessons for recovery and addiction treatment. First, notice that Samantha is focused on what she can change not on her negative situation. “I want better, so that’s why I do well in school,” she said. Her family has pointed her towards what she can do rather than warn her of the perils of negativity. For instance, my blood boils every time I see a commercial on A&E for “Beyond Scared Straight”. We know factually if you focus on the negative you bring the negative. Teaching kids what they don’t want is ridiculous! That is why the “DARE” program failed and so has “scared straight”.
If you want to teach your children right, first do right on your own. Second lead them in the way of right! Instead of taking them to prison and warning them of the dangers, take them to a research center at a University. Show them what they can be and why that is important. Lead them to the positive side of life!
Secondly, I remember back when I was beginning my recovery. I was informed (by the therapists) that I had problems. I was lead to believe that I drank alcohol and consumed drugs because I was broken. I had to awaken the child within! Honestly, I had no idea why I drank and drugged, I loved to party! I felt like a million bucks partying! I do not ever recall thinking my life situation is terrible I need a drink! I was homeless at 17, before people knew there was a homeless condition in the United States.
The point is simple, it is not our environment that makes us alcoholic or an addict. We need not seek out the blame of “WHY”. We need to take action. We need to take action in the direction of life, happiness and health! Focusing on what is wrong with me is futile. Yes, we need to clean the slate, but more importantly we need to move on! Life is way too good to waste on regret, resentment, feeling sorry for ourselves or any other negative thought and emotion.
Like Samantha we need to move forward and seize the moment! We need to strive to be everything we are capable of becoming, because Life is Goooood!
Go, Go, Go…