What is Your Legacy?
We talk a lot about motivation and what makes us grasp for sobriety in the face of the overwhelming challenge of drug or alcohol addiction. While there are many things that can motivate us toward recovery, it’s important to ask yourself an important question, one which many consider to be the cornerstone of their recovery effort: What am I leaving behind?
A person’s legacy is more than just their children or the wealth the leave as an inheritance for future generations. It’s the mark you leave on the world and all the people in it. Some great human beings throughout history have left a staggering legacy. Artists, thinkers, inventors, teachers, prophets, and parents all offer something to the collective tribe of humanity that endures beyond them.
When you make the decision to improve your health and life, there is often an understanding of your mortality involved. When things are bleak and dark in the face of a difficult struggle, people often glimpse the inevitability of death and begin to look at their life differently. What am I doing? What am I leaving behind? Why am I doing this?
These are great questions. So take stock of what you would leave behind if you were to die tomorrow. What would people say about you? Did you make their lives better or worse? Did you create things that endure in the world? Do your children have solid values and a healthy head start in the world? Any and all of these things matter and if the answer is no to most of them, then now is the time to begin correcting your legacy.
Too many recovering addicts get caught up in the guilt and shame of their past deeds and the ships that have sailed, never to return. But what’s right in front of you is all you have and all that matters. You have days, weeks, months, years, maybe even decades ahead of you on this planet so decide right here—today—that you will make a difference in this place. You will leave behind a legacy that is not tarnished by addiction, but rather one that offers something valuable to those who will come after you, even if that is simply hope that things can get better.
Your legacy is the memory of you on earth when you’re gone. You’re living the memory now, so make it the one you want others to remember. Live the way you want to be rememebered.