You Can Lead a Horse to Water

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.  Making amends was one of the driving forces behind OD. Looking back the I introduced a significant number of people to drugs.  The living embodiment of peer pressure, I never recognized my ability to influence others. From my little brother to friends, family, and acquaintances I brought a lot of people down and that is my burden to carry.  To the ones I’ve hurt, I apologize. Open Discussion Apparel is my redemption song. My vision was to involve those I’d caused the most hurt, to build them up, and for us to collectively take OD nationwide. This played a significant role in the vigor I’ve had for the project.

“I contributed to creating a problem, I can be the one to remedy it,” I thought.  I was convinced I could “fix” those I’d broken down, and to start, they were fantastically receptive to the idea.  Back in January, my brother, family, and friends all told me what I wanted to hear. I allowed myself to become intoxicated by the notion that once these folks heard my message they would move on from years of substance abuse and join me on this mission.  I wrongly expected everyone to be as passionate about the message as I was. Often times ignorance wears rose-tinted glasses, I sincerely believed it would be that simple. Even in April when my brother went back to rehab, I minimized reality. When I was in treatment I was frequently told someone couldn’t work a program for you.

Eight months later, some people are still incredibly supportive.  Others not so much, some saw dollar signs when I told them my idea, which was a fundamental misunderstanding.  My vision was never to use this as a means to get rich, it is to change dialogue. Some viewed OD as an extension of abstinence, also not true, it is more simple than that.  The purpose is nothing more than an open discussion. That’s not to say I don’t support abstinence, my premise is that abstinence is the wrong question to fight over.

I understand the pain of mental illness and addiction, as well as the struggles that come along with them, better than most I can assure you.  Yet, even I grossly underestimated the power of this disease. Actions speak louder than words, some have offered help yet would do nothing asked of them.  To be clear, I’m ok with this. Sadly, those in addiction are easily influenced, sometimes by vindictive souls spewing hate, venom, and lies. I’m in a good place and I’m determined to be me.  While I’m still just a guy trying to change the world, however, I now recognize you can’t change someone who doesn’t want to change themselves. No matter how hard you try and that’s alright. Trust the process.

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