I share my mistakes so that you might not repeat them

Photo: Dimitar Belchev

Over a span of ten years, I experienced drug addiction, drug overdose, marriage, divorce, financial hardship, ruined relationships, and failed businesses. I learned some things along the way that will help all of us to live better lives. Here are the top four lessons I’ve learned.

Lesson #1: Acceptance isn’t the same as resignation and it doesn’t mean you have to like it

A few years before finally finding real sobriety and recovery, I made several attempts to stop using drugs and alcohol. During one struggle, mostly trying to save my failing marriage, I made a pledge to stay completely abstinent from all drugs and alcohol.

Even to my closest friends, I couldn’t be honest about why…

They will appear in the form of adults who are substantially more likely to die an early death, perpetrate domestic violence, inject drugs, or commit suicide.

Photo: Jeffrey Hamilton

As fall creeps in, this is the time of year when students usually crowd into school hallways and classrooms. It’s a chance for kids to show off their first-day-of-school outfit. An annual opportunity for personal reinvention and reconnection with classmates and faculty. Undoubtedly, the impact — good and bad — of a child’s school experience is one that will significantly influence the trajectory of their lives.

For some kids, going back to school is less about showing off a newly curated fashion sense, and more about finding a scrap of consistency in their young lives. …

My relationship with my father, sexual abuse, and addiction

Image: Azrul Aziz

Most young boys constantly seek their father’s approval and love. I wasn’t different. He undoubtedly loved me, but he felt far away in his own cloud of thoughts and struggles.

It’s possible he thought it best to keep his youngest son at an arms-length rather than to corrupt me with his influence. The same type of negative self-image that was passed to me and that I still struggle with today.

My parents didn’t have a healthy relationship, but I was too young to recall most of it. …

Here’s what I learned from it

Photo: Chase Kinney

A few years before finally finding real sobriety and recovery, I made several attempts to stop using drugs and alcohol. During one struggle, mostly trying to save my failing marriage, I made a pledge to stay completely abstinent from all drugs and alcohol.

Even to my closest friends, I couldn’t be honest about why I suddenly decided to avoid alcohol. I would dodge their questions or pass it off as an attempt to get into peak physical shape:

“You know — for Crossfit and stuff.”

That wasn’t a complete lie, as I had recently taken a genuine interest in Crossfit…

If it’s on this list, I’ve had to learn it the hard way

The author Ryan Holiday has long been very influential to my writing. I was even lucky enough to write a guest post on one of his projects, Daily Stoic. You can read that article right here.

It seems to be a tradition for Ryan to publish a list of thoughts on his birthday. Most recently, 32 Thoughts From a 32-Year-Old.

Our life experiences couldn’t be any more different. Ryan has published eight books, many of them wildly successful, and has long been sought after as a speaker and marketing consultant.

In my 32 years, I’ve experienced drug addiction, near-fatal overdoses…

I’ve done all three and here’s what I learned

Photo: Markus Spiske

When someone insists that they had a perfect childhood, they’re usually in denial. They themselves likely have no idea how dysfunctional it actually was. It’s easy to normalize your childhood when it’s the only thing you knew for the first eighteen years of your life.

I know first hand because I used to say the same thing. Shortly after graduating high school and leaving home, I developed a drug addiction that would haunt me for the next decade. During the latter few years of my substance use, I was injecting myself with heroin and fentanyl several times each day.


We just don’t admit it and I have proof

Photo: David Boca

His blonde hair was saturated red with blood like he had painted it in hair dye and neglected to wash the paste out. A pair of deep cuts on his hairline exposed what looked like his skull, and his face was obscured by the blood still flowing from his injuries. But I’ll get back to that in a minute.

Stop acting like such a girl.

This statement and many variations of it were recited daily growing up as a boy. We’re taught that it’s only acceptable for women to show emotions like pain and sadness. …

It’s not something you should ever tie your happiness to

Photo: Annie Spratt

In the fall of 2015, my wife finally asked me to move out. She was soft-spoken and outwardly showed little emotion when she said those words. I remember it being mentioned casually, almost in passing. Likely wanting to avoid a confrontation, she did her best to frame the idea as a temporary break, but I knew that I would never again be welcomed back into our home.

At this point in our relationship, I was too broken to even put up a fight. I complied with her request and shuffled my way out the door. Divorce is not what I…

Photo: Hunters Race

After recently deciding to start my own automotive marketing and consulting business, I’ve been reaching out to friends in the industry to let them know what I’m doing and schedule meetings with potential clients.

During one of these meetings, only a couple of weeks ago, I had a prospective client look me in my eyes and say:

“I’ve talked to several people about you, Seth. You have a great reputation. Good for you. At the end of the day, that’s all a man has, isn’t it?”

Hearing him say this was jarring for me. He wouldn’t have been able to…

The difference between building healthy relationships and taking emotional hostages

Photo: Siavash Ghanba

Sobriety isn’t always easy, and it doesn’t solve all of your problems. In contrast, sobriety often emotionally amplifies your problems as you’re suddenly forced to confront them.

When I stopped using drugs to suppress my emotional pain, I had to start the long process of learning how to manage life without substances to help me. It’s a process that I’m still just barely beginning and one that will last for the rest of my life if I’m lucky.

The alternative to not facing this discomfort is a life that I already know all too well. Quitting drugs is the easy…

Seth Blais

Author of an ongoing addiction column with Portland Press Herald. More about me: https://linktr.ee/scb

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