• Stefan Neff

From Zero To Hero Chapter 20

The Road To Clarity

Once I started to release the notion that I wasn’t the ‘king of my domain’, the road to my life became a lot easier. The word ‘king of my domain’ had been locked into my mind since I was a child. Watching my father do nothing for others, only living life as a mean and abusive man of the house, and him acting like that was his birthright, set a powerful example for me. I knew nothing else. How he acted was programmed in my mind, and growing up being abused by him, I could hardly wait until I could be the ‘king of my domain’, then I would be safe and everyone would have to answer to me.


But that is only an excuse that I used to control all the people around me. There is nothing more meaningful than watching someone be abusive towards others. I couldn’t see myself acting that way towards others because I didn’t want to see who I really was deep inside my soul. It was much too painful to look at myself in the mirror and grasp the reality of the path I was living. Did I fight all aspects of change that were happening in my life? Yes absolutely. I fought the notion of change every step of the way tooth and nail.


My fingernails were filled with dirt from my childhood. It didn’t matter how much I washed my hands, the grimy dirt didn’t seem to come off. The crazy thing was, I knew deep in my soul that I wasn’t acting like a nice person, but didn’t seem to have the strength to change.


I truly wanted to become the man I knew I could be. I had a plan to move my life to a different place, but I had no idea if it was the right plan. Uncertainty and doubt seemed to cloud my vision. Only the universe would know whether it was the right thing or not. The one thing that I could take action on were the changes that I made to my own life. I was fighting this everyday

moving one step forward and two steps backwards.


I felt like my wife was moving so much faster, moving ahead of me, so fast that there was a disconnect going on in our life. I still wanted to drink alcohol every day, but she had said to me, “If you want to drink then don’t come home and find someone else to live your life with.” This left me wondering why life was so cruel and unpleasant that someone I loved so much would be as mean to me and shut my happiness down. I felt like I was being thrown out with the garbage in the street.


I was so devastated by her words the only coherent thought in my mind was to go to the beer store and get drunk out my mind. That was the only way I knew how to deal with pain in my life. Deep down I knew that it wasn’t the right way to deal with it, but I knew no other way. I would wait until she fell asleep before I left for my venture out to the outside world.


Why was this the only way that I could escape from my pain? I didn’t want to accept that I had to get rid of the alcohol in my life. I thought that she was so mean to me and wondered why I was stuck with her. I thought I was doing good and deserved a little treat. Well, I thought I was doing good, but the truth was, it was no good running away from my reality.


I started drinking the first beer, and I tell you that the beer tasted absolutely awful. At the time I didn’t understand why, but now I see the truth. When I sat outside on the stairs of our little coach-house I looked up to see if the lights were still off but I wasn’t surprised to see that all

the light was turned on like a beacon.


I knew right then and there that I was in for a long conversation. Did I want to enter into a room of love or stay outside and think of myself? This was the biggest decision of my life. It was a turning point for sure. I gathered up my courage and realized that it was time to face the reality of the truth of what I was really made of. Was I a scared little boy waiting for mommy to save me or was I going to face the music with an open heart?


This was my life in a nutshell, never really playing all out, only playing it safe all my life, always wondering if life could be much more than it is already. I started to move my soul up those stairs of life, I could feel my thoughts say “No, no! Don’t go,” but my heart was urging me forward towards happiness.


I felt like there was a heavy weight being lifted off me that had been holding me back from true happiness. Was this the moment that I could finally feel free of the missing link in my life?


When I walked into the house this absolutely amazing clear thought came over me like a lightning bolt of clear clarity. I finally felt something shift within me! But what I saw was a crazy woman looking at me with these eyes of terror. Her first words were filled with anger. “What the F@#k are doing back here?” and then with a voice that I will never forget, “Why don’t you just get out of here. We are finished! I am done with you! I don’t need you anymore. I told you that I am going to be happier without you in my life, so go back to your bottle and be happy on your own.”


I said, “Yes, you’re right, but I am feeling ready to talk now.”


She said, “What do you want to talk about?”


“I want to talk about my drinking problem.”


“If you want to talk about your drinking, then go see someone that cares, because I don’t CARE what you do. Drink, don’t drink, I don’t care anymore for you!! Fix your own problems. I am not here in this world to fix you. I am here to fix my own life. I am here to raise my son, not you. I AM NOT YOUR MOTHER!! So think about that and GET OUT OF HERE!! When you really

want to change then we can talk, now I want you to love yourself first, so go DO IT!!”


I was stunned, I didn’t know what to say I knew that if I left this house I would never come back. I went to the bathroom and started to cry as I looked at myself in the mirror. I knew at that moment of my something had changed. I had never thought it possible to love myself, I was taught that grown men don’t show love or care for themselves. This was a new and deep moment for me. As I walked out of the bathroom, she said, “Why are you still here?”


“I am not leaving until we solve this.”


“OK solve it then, but do it somewhere else, because I am done with you!!”


I was so angry that I wanted to punch her in the forehead, but I knew that wouldn’t solve anything. Violence never fixes any problems in life, it just creates more. The only way to face problems is to face them head-on. I was finally ready for this challenge in my life. I knew deep in my heart that our lives were meant for better things.


There was a feeling set deep within the core of my being that could no longer be denied. I stayed that night, ready for an open dialogue for change. I was determined to say what was real in my heart.


We talked for hours until the sun came up the next morning. I had never experienced anything like ever before. We talked about everything and I mean everything. I wasn’t even tired or sleepy all that next day. I remember at work that day everything seems different somehow. I felt a disconnect from my employer like never before, and the world seemed to look different for some strange reason, like I was in another dimension, devoid of all worries and cares. Like somehow I was watching life from a different perspective.


All that week we talked for hours and hours. That had never happened to us before. Usually, she yelled and we’d argue all night and then it would be over. She would leave or things would go back to the way they were, but nothing would change.


Towards the end of that work week, I was told by my employer that I needed to work overtime and that all the employees were to do the same no matter what. I felt so uncomfortable about this and I said I couldn’t. I had a strong conversation, with the words that I never

had said in my entire life, ‘I quit’.


This was a big step for me and I felt so much love for myself like never before. I couldn’t believe that my life was important enough to express my true feelings. I went home that day with a release that had been haunting me for so many years. I knew that there was no job waiting for me in the morning, but this was the best feeling ever.


No more stress of telling people how bad they were doing. I didn’t need to be mean to all the employees anymore. This was the best feeling ever. Love was in my heart to stay. I could now talk to my wife with real thought of love and true caring that I never knew was possible in my entire life.


The days moving forward that year were filled with ever more pleasurable moments. My life seemed to feel more and more like real happiness. What were the keys that I found in my life that were keeping love in our relationship? It was the love and care that I was developing for myself that was moving us forward.


Throughout the next few months, living without a job was a little difficult, but I was much happier than before. I started a new job that I knew would be an opportunity to make more money and create a change of scenery. I went to work every day still smoking and drinking but not as much as before. This still was an issue that was holding me back from what I really wanted in life, but I wasn’t sure quitting was the answer yet. With our relationship getting better, I knew that I could get my life on track to where I was completely happy in my life. But was this the real truth or was this just what I believe to be the truth? I wasn’t sure yet, but I was feeling different than what I had ever felt before.


There were many things that I was still hiding from my wife and what happened next was going to bring it all to a head in the Next Chapter.


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