Saturday, September 26, 2015

Notes From An Interview on 'Adversity' - Part Two

Notes From An Interview on 'Adversity' - Part Two

In watching the brief video with your story of being incarcerated, it seems the big picture was left out in order to focus on this one life event. I want to look at what other problems you may have faced, and how you have handled these troubles of life.

Interviewer-Questions(Q): In our last conversation, we focused on what you thought about the adversity your victims faced. Now lets talk more about what has turned you into the person you are today.

My Response-Answers(A): 

Last time we spoke, we finished on the idea that there is no way to tell when and why bad things happen to people. 

Q: Without going back over all that we discussed, would there be anything you wish to add?
A: Yes, first- people can learn to make the best in whatever circumstances they face, deciding if they can turn the event into something positive.
And second- people can choose to see the good things that appear in the midst of their struggles, or they can focus solely on the negative things that happen.

Q: Can you look back into your life to give such an illustration?
A: Yes, when I joined the military, I wanted to be a special-operations diver, however I couldn't pass the physical requirements for pressurizing.

A: I have environmental allergies that are considered mild to moderate, but constantly produce swelling and mucous in my sinus cavity, which plugs my ears and wont let them pressurize. This is primarily what kept me from qualifying. 
The result throughout has been trouble sleeping at night, which when awake leads to poor concentration, slow response times, fatigue, dizziness, and a few others.

Q: How does that affect your life? 
A: I enjoy less outdoor activities, often appear tired, grumpy, and quick to anger. I would sleep through classes in high-school. But now I take multiple medications to reduce the symptoms.

Q: What would you say is a positive to all of this?
A: Well, rather than becoming a Spec-ops diver, I learned a job that helped me later when I left the military. Now, I tend to have some level of empathy when others experience similar symptoms because I know what they are going through.

Q: So could these appear as excuses for poor performance now?
A: No- growing up my mother would not allow me to make excuses of this type, so I constantly had to look for creative ways to do things in spite of my limitations.
Q: Who influenced you most while you were a kid and growing up? 
A: Growing up? Most likely my mother. She was rarely happy with her life, or my efforts, often using emotional manipulation to get what she wanted, or make others feel bad.
It taught me not to try and find my happiness in her or other people, which has its own drawback as I have learned the same traits.

Q: When did you decide to join the military? Get an education?
A: While in High-school; I didnt view education as being important, and I wanted to be self-directed. Somehow it made sense to leave my parent's side and their ideas of what I should do. Looking back its ironic that I joined the military in search of doing things my own way, but I also wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself, and that proved a great experience.
As for college, I began taking classes while still in the military. It became clear to me that I couldnt enjoy a living on my physical performance alone, so I began looking for ways to make a living by using my mind.

Q: What other ideas did you have for a career?
A: Music or acting, but few people become successful in that, so I chose to go with what seemed more likely, and I used my electronics-training from the military to help me get a job, and my education.

Q: How did you become an alcoholic?
A: Probably when I was still a teenager. My father was often an abusive alcoholic, and both parents did it- drinking, and my friends liked it- getting drunk. I didnt like other drugs I tried, so I stuck with what was most readily available and acceptable to myself and others.

Q: What kept the desire (to drink) going though?
A: I think it was fueled by feelings of inadequacy; an inability to please myself by achieving the athletic goals I wanted, and the inability to please my parents with my grades- often because I didnt put in the effort. 

Q: Where have you found the most struggles since being incarcerated?
A: Wow- that could be alot to unpack. Making a marriage work. Not always physically defending myself when I wanted to. Trusting others. Trusting God. Earning my freedom by going through special programs for early release. Making all the meetings required after my release. The emotional frustration with constantly focusing on my short-comings while in the program, and in the required meetings after my release. Finding a job. Keeping a job. Getting to work without a driver's license. Finding myself as socially acceptable, especially when others were reluctant to trust me. I could continue, but it all seems self-defeating.

Q: What do you mean by 'self-defeating'? Why does that matter to you at all now?
A: When we continually focus on our problems, the negative parts of our lives seem to take on more importance. Then I believe we miss opportunities for good. 
As an example- If I am working through a 12-step program, or focusing on my anger, or unhappiness with others, then its easy to miss the good that happens around me. 
When I get frustrated with my kids and focus on correcting them, then I miss enjoying their creativity.
When I focus on yet another twelve-step program, then I can miss building friendships with people who arent in recovery.
When I focus on my sin, I forget to look at God's promise of the future.
Its easy to become bitter when all we choose to see is the problems, but hope comes from focusing on whats possible in the future. 
This comes from my walking in faith with Christ, and the expectation I have in Him to provide far beyond anything I can imagine for myself.

Q: So, are you saying your life is better since you had all these kinds of adversity?
A: All I can say is I have learned to be happy in living with abundance, and while living with nothing, all because I have faith in God to see me through. And I have found unforeseen blessing in putting my trust in Him. 

It is likely there is more to still learn from you, but we will have to read about it in your posts.
Thank you for the time together.

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