We asked our regular contributors through e-mail How did you turn your life around? We got many interesting responses. Here are some of them. We have just copied and pasted their responses, not editing them in any way.
1. I decided to stop comparing myself to my brother and try to focus on the improbable.
2. When I was a teenager I was homeless. A lot of places wouldn’t hire me because I had no experience or interview clothes. I went to the board of education and begged the HR lady to give me a chance at any job. I told her I’d scrub the school with a toothbrush if they paid me.
They made me a general sub for clerical. I took a call for one of the “bad neighborhood” schools that some others turned down. Walked across town to get there every day do I had to start walking at 4:30 am to be on time. I wore dress clothes from a church mission that were way too big but I did my best.
After four months they gave me a long-term position. Then a permanent one with benefits. I saved up enough for an apartment (finding a landlord okay with renting to an 18-year-old homeless girl was hard) and started college.
I haven’t been homeless a day since in the last 15 years. I even have a house now.
3. Quit a job that wasn’t making me happy, went back to college.
4. I quit drinking when I was 24 went back to college when I was 26 and graduated at 29.
5. I took my last drink of alcohol 2,079 days ago.
6. I asked for help.
7. Reading more and using social media less.
8. After being laid off from my last factory job, I suddenly found myself on the streets of Toronto in the early 1990s with a grade 9 education, no money, no friends, no job references, and not really any family. So what did I do? Found an unbelievably dirty crappy crawl-space basement apartment. Applied for Welfare. Stopped, drinking and smoking, and anything else unhealthy. Got a gym membership and went 4 hours a day. Jogged 5 miles every morning (weather permitting). Enrolled in an adult high school. Ignored everyone and everything that would be a distraction. Got my High School diploma with honors in 2 years. Applied for university. Got in. Moved to a different city and spent 4 years getting my BA Hon in Philosophy (because I like to think and solve problems). Applied to a graduate program, and spent the next 10 years getting my MA and my Ph.D. Then spent the next several years as a professor making good money and having lots of fun. Won’t say how things are going now because I got cursed with poor health etc., and so am no longer working. I’ll just say that I am happy now and know that I would have ended up either dead or in jail if I hadn’t done what I did all those years ago. Sooner or later everyone has got to take their life seriously.
9. Stopped caring about things I can’t control and put all my energy into the things I can. It sounds hard, but there’s actually a lot you can control and that doesn’t leave much room for the other sh*t.
10. I grew up in South Florida during the beginning of the opioid craziness. From 2006-2011 things got pretty bad. In 2011 I sold my last possession, my car for $800 packed 2 suitcases, and bought a bus ticket to Denver. Never been to Denver, didn’t know anyone there but weed was starting to be legal and I didn’t want to miss out. I detoxed on the bus going from Florida to Colorado. Do not recommend it. I got lucky and ended up sitting next to a guy that was a grower and needed help in his garden. I didn’t know it at the time but on the Greyhound he said I had an 8-hour job interview. Got to Denver and he really helped me get established. Within 2 months I was sleeping on his couch and learning how to grow. Haven’t touched a pain killer since I got on that bus almost 9 and a half years ago and now I’m married, homeowner, a decent car, and working my dream job in the cannabis industry. It’s not for everyone, but I literally went from homeless sticking needles in my arm to living a life better than I could have ever imagined.