Life can be difficult. For many people, we find ourselves in situations that seem hopeless. If you are one of those people, I assure you that you are not alone. Not only are you not alone, but no matter how bad your situation may be, you have the power to change your life in ways you can’t imagine.


     I can’t know every person’s situation or personal struggles, but I do know mine. I was addicted to heroin for the great majority of a 20 year span. I’ve been to jails and prison more times than I can honestly remember. I’ve died on three separate occasions, due to heroin overdoses. I’ve been homeless, and I’ve seen and lived the worst of humanity. I’ve hurt and deceived any and everyone that I possibly could. Yet today, I am a professional musician, contributing writer, and I have a whole new family and support system that genuinely accepts and loves me. It wasn’t easy, and it certainly took time to arrive at my present situation.


      An important step in changing yourself, or any situation is to, first and foremost, honestly own your part. Pointing the finger at any and everyone, or being stuck in situations from your past are toxic. The fact of the matter is that each and every person has choices. We choose the people we invest time and energy into. We choose what we invest our time and energy into. It is essential to understand that the only thing you will ever have control over in your entire life is your actions and your reactions to what’s happening at the moment. To honestly take ownership for your current state, and to honestly recognize your faults are critical. It is also important to not let regret and guilt stunt you. The past is gone forever, and no amount of wishing it was different, or the “what if this or what if that” games that we imagine will ever change anything. The only thing the past is good for is experience. As long as you learn from your experiences, they can never be considered failures because you will have gained the knowledge to never repeat that mistake again. And, that is invaluable.


         Another crucial step in changing is to develop an unwavering belief in yourself. Take every action, say every word, and carry yourself, all the time, with a confidence that’s palpable. If you don’t believe in and love yourself, you can’t possibly expect anyone else to. Our thoughts and words are extremely powerful. You have to constantly reinforce your mind with positive words and thoughts about yourself. When you fully understand and believe that your thoughts and words are more than capable of manifesting your reality, you are on the verge of major changes.


          A vital process, in any real growth, is undoubtedly learning to overcome fear. Without a doubt, fear is the greatest hindrance to success on any level, whether emotionally, or in any other way. Most people live in fear their entire lives. They fail to take action out of fear. They come up with a million reasons why they can’t do something, and in the end, do nothing. This is fear. Fear forces people to settle, instead of chasing their dreams and true desires. You can never let fear dictate your life. It will only leave you with regret.

     The last piece of advice I would like to leave you with is to surround yourself with people who nurture and encourage you. People, who prove with their actions, that they genuinely care about you. It is absolutely true that you are a reflection of the company you keep. Never settle because you’re afraid of being alone. Learn to be at peace with yourself. I assure you, the right people will naturally gravitate to you, when everything we discussed previously has begun. Nothing of any worth comes easy, and without work and sacrifice. If you have people in your life who bring more negativity than positivity, you have to be willing to cut those people out. You are responsible for who you allow into your life, and you also dictate how you allow people to treat you. I can assure you that I am by no means perfect, however, I am also extremely proud of the things I’ve overcome, and the person I am today. Everything I wrote in this article was absolutely essential in me being able to overcome my circumstances. I assure you, it’s never too late to change, and it’s never so hopeless that you can’t overcome. I know because I have.