February 12, 2008

Celebrating My Re-Birth

February 12 is a very special day for me. Most people celebrate their birthday on the day they were born, for me, I celebrate my "rebirth" day today. Today I celebrate life and my 11 years of sobriety. I tell you this not for you to applaud me, that's not who I am, I tell you this to give those dealing with an addiction, that, yes you can get your life back!

Going through an addiction to drugs or alcohol is a terrible ordeal that affects not only that person, but all those around them. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think it would happen to me! I've said it many times before, "If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone!” I saw what alcohol did to my parents and remember saying "that's not going to be me when I grow up" yet I fell victim to drugs.As a competitive distance runner for many years, the thought never ever crossed my mind about using anything.

After retiring from that stage of running in 1988, I moved back to my dairy farm in Minnesota and was in a very bad farm accident. I was very fortunate to survive. I was hospitalized for a long time and had numerous surgery's, but I survived, a couple of years later a car crash, then hit by a truck while running, another car accident, fell off a cliff, I know it almost sounds comical!

Through it all I was on a lot of narcotic pain medication and eventually became addicted to them. My life was totally out of control! Taking the drugs, getting the drugs, and making sure no one knew was at the time my number one goal in my life. It got so bad I was even forging my own prescriptions, I'd never stolen as much as a piece of bubble gum or ever been in any kind of trouble, and now I was doing something that I could have gone to prison for!

By the summer of 1996 I was taking a cocktail of Percocet, Valium, and Demerol, 80-90 pills per day! I thank God everyday that I finally got caught before I died! I knew I was in a lot of trouble but I was so thankful and blessed that I was still alive! I knew the only chance I had to try and get better and get my life back, was to be 100% truthful and take responsibility for my actions.

Over the years so many people have told me, "Dick, it’s not your fault, It’s those doctors who gave you all those pills" I say baloney! Not one doctor ever forced me to take the pills, they all warned me about the dangers of being on that kind of medicine for too long, it was me who chose to take the pills and it was me who had to suffer the consequences!

I can’t begin to thank all of the people who were there to help me straighten myself out, who never gave up on me when at times I wanted to give up on myself, I was given a second chance and for that I will be forever grateful!

I have an incredible passion to help others with the terrible disease of addiction and that is why I started the Dick Beardsley Foundation. It’s to help those get their lives back and to let them know that life can be better than ever before!

Is it going to be easy? Are you kidding! It’s the hardest thing I've ever had to do, nothing and I mean nothing even comes close, but it is worth every ounce of energy you put into it!

They say you can live for 40 days without food, 7 days without water, a few minutes without air, but you can't live one second without hope. Hope is what we are trying to bring through our foundation!

Thank you to all of you who have kept me in your prayers, who have sent me messages on my "rebirth" day every year, and for your generous donations to the Dick Beardsley Foundation!

Today life for Dick Beardsley is better than it has ever been! Keep a smile on your face, enthusiasm in your voice, and joy in your heart!

Take care and God Bless, Dick

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