From as far back as I can remember life always felt pretty crap!
Around the age of 10/11 my mum and dad split up and I didn't seem to deal with it very well and from then things seemed to get worse.
I remember starting to smoke at age 14, trying to be cool and hang out with the other cool kids to fit in and not get bullied. That didn't work... being bullied 3 times at school made me hate the place and I couldn't wait to leave and get a job!
I remember having a lot of counselling sessions, which I also hated. I felt very uneasy going to talk to someone about my problems; it didn't feel right at all and they never made it all go away. By the time I was 16 I found that drinking (a lot!) did take all the horrible stuff away and it felt like a lot of fun too, so for nearly 14 years I drank myself stupid whenever I could.
There would be days when life was ok and I made some good friends and eventually after coming to terms with being gay I met my amazing partner. We moved in together and I slowly began to realise I wanted to sort myself out mainly to save our relationship. I also knew it was time to get back to being normal (whatever that is!).
I was a mess and hadn't realised I had been crying out for help for years! But I knew now was the time; I had hit the bottom and needed something to bring me back up... Auntie Deb was my answer.
After visiting her for the weekend about a year and a half ago now, I remember her mentioning something about how you're thinking works and, although I didn't really know what she was on about, something felt right. It was like she knew the secret to living a happy life. After all she seemed pretty fixed to me (and she had been though some awful times).
So we began Skyping each week and from the very first chat we had I felt a sense of calm overcome me, I can't explain it but I knew I was now heading back up in the right direction. I looked forward to chatting every week, thinking Deb was making me feel so calm. Little did I know I was doing it all by myself.
So many things in my life began to improve as I started to realise I was the creator of my reality. I didn't have to believe my thinking, or take it seriously.
The main two things that have improved are my relationship with my partner and my drinking.
I used to always be angry and annoyed at my partner, I couldn't understand why she was so messy and it felt like everything she did was to annoy me; now I realise she's just doing what she does being her lovely self with the thinking she has. We have such a great loving, understanding relationship now. Don't get me wrong, sometimes I still get annoyed, but when I do I almost straight away realise it is me and nothing to do with her; I mean how can it be her, she's doing the same as always, it's just my mind that is changing.
It is so simple that we have missed it (innocently of course), we are humans after all.
It amazes me that something as simple as understanding where our reality comes from, can have such a huge impact on our quality of life.
My relationship with drinking has changed dramatically! At first I couldn't see how the principles could help me with this; to me it looked so real! There was just no way on this planet that I was going to be able to go to a party and not get wasted. The principles were great and they could help me in other areas but drinking...NO WAY!
I personally never wanted to give up drinking altogether as I believe it's healthy to have things in balance. So now I still drink if I want to (which isn't that often actually) but I don't drink to get wasted, I drink because I enjoy a few with friends or when I'm out having a meal, etc. The best way I find to try to describe it is I drink from a different place now, from a peaceful mind, whereas before I drank to shut my mind up.
There are so many more things that I see differently now, through fresh eyes. I've definitely woken up to my true self and discovered my inner peace and happiness.
There is hope for all of us, no matter what your story....
So now Deb and I have decided to make it our life work to help others in as many ways as possible. We believe if we can come through the things we have then we definitely can help others.