Owning Your Shit, Part 1
Keeping Your Power

This post is copied from my column. I write for the Adams County Drug Court Newsletter.

My people, the recovering addict and alcoholic. I listen to their words, read their testimonials, and I feel their pain. Their struggle is my struggle. Not only is the struggle real, but it’s a struggle of life and death, a struggle to survive. Not all of us make it, some of us will die from our disease. The numbers tell a very sad story. From the research that I’ve done, it’s safe to say that some of the people that I spend my Thursday afternoons with in Brighton will not graduate from probation, resulting in further incarceration. Furthermore, it’s also possible that one or more won’t make it at all, and that their continued drug use will eventually lead to an early death.

As an Adams County Drug Court Client, I spend a lot of time in court. Every other Thursday I travel to Brighton, spend part of my day there, and then travel back home. I’m not complaining, it’s an alternative to incarceration, and jail f*g sucks.

It was during court that I began writing this piece. Inspired by Facebook Addiction Groups, Anonymous Meetings, and Our Struggle, I realized that it was time to say something about an ongoing problem we are having, a problem with bullshit.

I was four minutes late for the court that day, but four minutes is late, and I had a choice. That Thursday I chose to be four minutes late, instead of fifty-six minutes early. The penalty for being late that day, sitting in the front row of the courtroom, and staying for the entire docket.

During this docket time, I watched several people go to jail, including a friend of mine. Most of them only went for two nights, but it’s still a rough sanction if you’re used to being home in your own bed every night. The common denominator, the one thing that will send a Drug Court Client to jail, choosing bullshit instead of the truth. Needing to refresh my memory on the ACDC Rules, I took a second look at my Drug Court Contract, and I found that the number one requirement is being honest. Yeah, no shit. It’s always hard to watch, that moment when the handcuffs click down on to the wrists of one of my peers. The only consolation, hopefully it will save a life.

 The title of this piece says a lot, but it doesn't say it all. So what does it mean, to own your shit? Let's look past the possibility that maybe I'm writing about poop. If I'm not doing a poop story then where does that leave us? Let's start here.

1) I’m talking (writing) about taking responsibility and accountability of our actions, decisions, and choices. It’s all about free will of course.

2) Not placing blame on anything or anyone else for our problems or situations.

3) Not throwing the sabotage flag or get caught up in who deserves what.

4) To not be jealous and envious of others or as many say now, not to be a hater.

It’s easy to blame something or someone else for our problems. I believe this cycle begins at a young age and if not checked continues into adulthood. And why not, pointing a finger at someone instead of ourselves is kind of like waving a magic wand. The power to travel back in time and remove ourselves from our own choices and decisions like a get out of jail free card or a do-over.

I’ll use drug use as an example, since we all probably see this every day in our lives. How many people blame drug dealers for their own drug use instead of taking responsibility for getting high?

It is not that I don’t think selling drugs is bad and does a lot of damage, of course, it is, but my time is valuable to me. More than gold or any material s**t. Because of this, I don’t waste any of my time trying to convince myself that it’s the drug dealers fault that I used. Not only would that be a lie, but it also does something else. If we place blame on the seller instead of accepting responsibility for our choices then we give our power back to the drug, instead of keeping what’s ours. What a terrible thing to do. Please don’t lie to yourself.

 Now let's talk about throwing the sabotage flag. Claiming sabotage is very similar to placing blame on somebody else for our decisions. The difference is this. Yes, there are bad people in this world who will make the effort to sabotage us and some of them will go to great lengths to do this. Now here's the catch. We have control over who we invite into our lives, and nobody can sabotage us unless we allow them into our lives in some way. Controlling this can be difficult since some of the sabotage experts maybe friends and/or family. But the bottom line is this. If we allow these people to remain in our lives then once again, we have given up our power to someone else. And what a terrible thing. Keep your power and don't throw the flag. If you claim sabotage then you've also claimed that somebody else has control over you and you're a puppet. Don't be an f*****g puppet.

 Now let's talk about being a hater. You might be a hater if. You get upset when good things happen to other people. This means anyone in the world including shitty people. If you spend any of your time and energy being mad or upset when somebody else wins the lottery, gets a new car or anything else, then you are probably a hater. If you're upset because someone got less jail time for the same charge, then you are probably a hater. If you're mad because a friend found a bag of money then you're probably a hater. So here's my point on all of this Hater s**t. Why spend any time or energy being upset because something good happened to someone who isn't you? If we spend any time hating someone, being jealous or envious then we give up our power to that person. Even worse, that might be just what they want. Maybe somebody out there just wants you to hate them, and spend all of your time thinking about it (them) until the whole thing consumes you. In fact, if you're currently hating somebody then maybe that person is sitting in a lounge chair drinking something with a little umbrella in it while they think about how silly you are to spend your life dwelling on them. 

 Have you ever thought that you don't deserve anything? Or maybe you do deserve something but you didn't get it. Maybe somebody else got it but you deserved it. Well too bad, because deserve has nothing to do with it. The world doesn't work like that. Because of the endless factors surrounding cause and effect we may or may not get what we deserve. Since we can't control anything deserve can take some time, and in some cases, a very long time.  Fortunately, the world is only a very small piece of the universe, and just like we can't control the world, the world can't control the universe. And that's a good thing. Some people call it karma, and others like to say that everything happens for a reason. Guess what? Both are correct. I like to say that things happen because they have to happen, but that's just me. Anyway, no matter how unfair the world can and will be, eventually the universe will handle the situation. Similar to disciplining an out of control child or spouse. Nothing stays out of balance forever, and eventually, the universe will show up if there's an outstanding debt or marker. 

In closing I’ll just say this. I’m certainly no flipping Angel. I’ve done as much dope as you have, had three convictions for meth, completed two half-way houses, and done a butt-load of jail time. That being said, I don’t lie. Telling the truth is something that I started doing years ago, and it’s made my life a lot easier. I speak the truth all day, yes even to my probation officer.

Please check back next month for Part 2, The Bullshit Test.


Joseph Shanklin
July 11, 2019

4 thoughts on “Owning Your Shit Part 1, Keeping Your Power

  1. Hello Joe! I m glad you talked about this. It is a touchy topic and people stay mum, hence they feel alone with their problems. I hope people will read this and learn from you. I hope you will get out of the addiction completely soon. My best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s great, Joe! I have known people who have had problems quitting cigarette… and it is not even one-hundredth as addictive. I can only imagine your struggle and the will power it took. I am glad it worked out eventually. Congratulations! ☺️ Remember to celebrate the anniversary of your independence from the monster.


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