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Only the Person who Risks is Truly Free

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk being called sentimental.
To reach out to another is to risk involvement.
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your ideas, your dreams before the crowd is to risk being called naive.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To hope is to risk despair,
and to try is to risk failure.

But risks must be taken because the greastest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing, and becomes nothing.
He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live. Chained by his certitudes, he is a slave, he’s forfeited his freedom.
Only the person who risks is truly free.

Many people use drugs and alcohol to numb their lives. They no longer want to feel guilt, anger, sorrow, and despair. Doing this also shuts them off from pride, joy, love, and most of all from hope. Numb to the world, these people feel like there is no use in living. Using drugs and alcohol to numb the negative doesn’t make it go away, it makes the negative worse. It makes life not worth living.

The poem above, attributed to several authors including William Arthur Ward, illustrates the two sided coin of life. We cannot have happiness without sorrow, good times without hardships. Putting yourself at risk for suffering means you are actually living life. It allows you to truly feel all that there is to feel. Risking it all is embracing life.

Take that risk. Get clean. No, it won’t be easy. You will let go of drug and alcohol’s illusion of safety, be thrown into the painful process of rehabilitation, and arrive back in the real world. Life will continue to be hard, but it will be yours. Rid yourself the thing that rules your life so that YOU can rule your life. Only the person who risks is truly free.